The Happy Hooker

We all know that prostitution has been going on forever. It’s even always been sanctioned by most societies—you know, no big deal, a fact of life. In movies about the Old West, for example, you’d always see the town brothel or saloon frequented by the mayor and judge and sheriff, all the important dignitaries in town being serviced by the girls-for-hire on the premises. There was no crime being committed. Everybody was getting what they wanted. It wasn’t until some enterprising black men began to take advantage of the situation, and as pimps, excuse me, personal managers, began to make a lot of money, that they were not paying taxes on, that Whitey decided to step in and deem the whole practice to be against the law. Now it was all right while they were doing it, but they didn’t want any black people capitalizing on such a lucrative endeavor, taking the profits away from themselves.

Then, too, all the time when black slave women were held captive against their will and forced to submit to their masters, overseers and whomever, it, too, was considered no big deal and a non-criminal act. But when it was white women in the same situation, only then did it become a crime and given a name: white slavery. But at least the white girls sometimes did get paid for their services, even if it was not consensual. Whitey never encouraged or even allowed blacks to be creatively enterprising, unless they were benefiting themselves.

All throughout Harlem and other predominately-black communities the Numbers game was a major business activity that almost everyone participated in. Of course, it was deemed illegal, therefore they had to operate on the down-low. But then the Mafia (and whoever else) got wind of it and, of course, wanted a piece of the action themselves, and it eventually came out into the open and legally sanctioned as the Lottery, Powerball, Off-Track Betting and all the other mainstream gambling and “numbers” rackets.

“The World’s Oldest Profession” still catches flak from conservative prudes. I’ve heard housewives on the talk shows lambaste and denounce the prostitutes and kept mistresses that come on as guests on the shows. But these hypocritical hausfraus don’t think about the fact that they are not much different than the hookers that they are badmouthing. The only difference is that the wives are licensed prostitutes. Marriage makes it legal and therefore acceptable. Think about it. What does a housewife do? She takes care of her man by cooking for him, keeping his house clean and provides sexual favors for him in exchange for free room and board, occasional gifts and regular pay for her services. Prostitutes and mistresses get the same benefits, but they don’t have to marry the guy!

There are wives who actually barter sex with their husbands. If he wants it, he has to give her something in return. So what do you call that? Do you know that the word hussy: a shameless wench or prostitute, is derived from housewife? And who do these wives think are keeping these hookers in business? Why, their husbands, of course! Don’t they know that most of these girls’ regular clients are married men? Single men ordinarily don’t have to sneak around and pay for sex. It’s those in committed relationships that tend to have to get it on the sly.

And how about those female therapists who call themselves “sexual surrogates,” whose clients are men who have trouble relating to their wives or women in general or have some other sexual problem? These women—who are not doctors, just licensed “therapists”—are paid lots of money, per session, to help these men with their problems by having sex with them. So, what is that?! Then you have your female gold-diggers who make their living playing men for what they can get out of them. I’ve heard some of them claim that they don’t even have to put out to get rewards from these men. They just give them their time and companionship in exchange for gifts and monetary favors. Well, your high-priced call girls do the same thing. They don’t always have to have sex with their johns either. Many of these guys are into fetishes, fantasy and role-playing, which often don’t even involve actual intercourse. They pay the women for their time and compliance.

It has now been reported that oral sex is the new goodnight kiss. All over the country high-school teenaged girls regularly are giving blow jobs to their male classmates in exchange for favors. “Jason, I will suck your dick if you do my math homework for me.” “Okay!” The girls that are old enough to date and go to parties and clubs where there may be older men in attendance, will actually hustle these men for a little action. “If I’m going to be doing this anyway, I might as well get some money out of it.” But these wives, mistresses, surrogates, gold-diggers and schoolgirls will flatly deny that they are prostitutes, when, in fact, that’s exactly what they are.

But I say, So what? A prostitute is not the worst thing in the world to be. This further confirms my point about the sexual promiscuity of women. There have always been prostitutes in every nation of the world, and a woman who abhors sex would not willingly choose it as their life‘s profession. So they must like having sex or they wouldn’t be doing it, would they? Some will complain, “I have to sell my body. I don’t know how to do anything else.“ Well, the fact is, my dear, you don’t have to do that. If you don’t know how to do anything else, then learn how to do something else! If not, then that must be what you really want to do.

Look at it this way. I have been a singer all my life. It’s what I do. And I sing whether I get paid or not. I don’t always like every gig that I get. I may not like the music or the conductor, for instance. But since it’s my job, I just tolerate it, take the money and run. By the same token, realize that sex is a part of life. It’s what humans do with each other. So if sex is something that you enjoy, are good at it and would be doing it anyway, why not get paid for it if you can? You most likely will not be into every trick that you encounter, but just do your job. That’s what you are being paid for.

People also get so indignant when they are called whores and sluts and tramps and such. I mean, if that’s what you are, then just own up to it. The dictionary regards slut to pertain to a woman, but I don’t think that human behavior should apply to only one gender. There are sexually-promiscuous men, too, which would make them sluts as well. I know that I am a whore and a slut and I’m not at all ashamed to admit it, although I have slowed down considerably, as I get older. My state of mind is still slutful, however, whether I act upon it excessively or not. The ones who do criticize and name-call are probably just jealous because they are not getting it as much as they’d like to, if at all.

A friend of mine once told me about the night he spent in a hotel with a woman. During their session of lovemaking they got a little loud, which prompted the single lady next door to them to come over and knock on their door with the complaint that the noise was disturbing her and would they please keep it down. I commented that if that spiteful bitch had been in her room getting her brains fucked out, she wouldn’t be complaining, would she? She’s not getting any action, so nobody else should have any fun either. I love hearing the sounds of sex from other people. It pleases me to know that others are getting it on. You go, girls and/or boys!

Since it takes two to tango, one cannot be a whore all by oneself. It is a consensual activity. So if prostitution is considered an illegal activity in most places, why are only the paid girls (or boys) harassed and arrested most of the time? That’s not fair. All they are doing is providing a needed service, so the people who solicit this service should be held just as responsible for it. One party cannot function without the other’s support and patronage. That’s why I don’t think bad of the gold-diggers. They couldn’t do what they do if they didn’t have willing participants. I do realize, though, that the solicitors are now more subject to arrest, but it’s usually the result of undercover vice entrapment. I suppose it’s primarily the street hookers who are at the greatest risk for arrest. The vice squad can’t monitor those who do their business behind closed doors. But wherever they choose to do it, it should be allowed.

How can you blame one for doing something when another party is providing them the direct means to do it? Just as there are laws (at least on the books) against reproducing copyrighted material (published music, films, sound recordings, etc.), but then we have photocopy machines, scanners, VCRs and now rewriteable CDs and DVD copiers at our disposal which allow us to do that very thing. What are professional performers if not prostitutes? Singers, dancers (exotic and otherwise), actors, musicians, circus performers, athletes, prizefighters, wrestlers, what-have-you, all are paid to provide public pleasure, that is, to entertain people. We are selling ourselves in some way or another, depending on our particular talent. You pay me money and I’ll sing for you, I’ll dance for you, whatever you want me to do. So we are all prostitutes and get paid in exchange for personal favors or services. Sometimes it’s sexual, but it doesn’t have to be. So then, by the same token, the agents and managers of performing artists are actually euphemized pimps and madams. They offer, promote and exploit their clients and in turn receive a percentage of the money that is paid to them for their particular services. If their people don’t work, then they don’t get paid.

By the way, PIMP stands for, “Put It in My Pocket“–that is, “Show Me the Money.“ This pimp and prostitute business arrangement (and you can call them anything you want, but it’s all the same) is the way of the world and nothing to demean or demoralize. Everybody’s doing it, let’s face it. In male/female relationships, especially, there are very few women, whether they be willing or not, who are not used or exploited for money in some way by men, therefore, some sort of prostitute.

And everyone can be bought, too. An attractive, young female executive, attending a business function for her company, was being hit on by a male associate. The guy asked her, “Hey, sweet thing, would you have sex with me if I paid you $50?” She answered, “Of course not!” “How about for $100?” “No.” “Two hundred?” “My good man, what kind of woman do you take me for?” “Well, I thought that we had already established that. All we’re doing now is haggling about your price.” Who would be prudish or adamant enough not to have sex with somebody for any amount of money? Everybody, including men, has their price. As poor as I often am, I certainly don’t turn down money when it’s offered.

Marry, Marry, Quite Contrary

There seems to be a widely-regarded notion that every human being’s raison d’etre in life is to find that one person of the opposite gender, fall in love, marry them and stay together for the rest of their lives. We are taught from the very beginning, even before we understand what life and love are all about, is that in order to be truly happy in life, we have to be married to someone we love and have children (especially sons, to carry on the family name). I never took a lot of stock in this idea of wedded bliss, and even less so since I have gotten older and know better.

Well, let’s just say that the state of holy matrimony is not my thing, okay? And it has nothing to do with my being gay either. You must be aware that gay people do get married all the time, and nowadays not only to the opposite sex. It’s that marriage is indeed an institution, and I do not wish to be institutionalized! It’s something with which my mother and I strongly agreed. She admitted that neither of her two marriages should have ever taken place, although I have managed to honor my convictions. We are just not of the marrying kind. But also, in my case, I have still not met anybody to whom I would like to be married. Marriage, in a way, has certain merits, but being manmade, I believe it to be a highly-specialized life situation, which makes more sense to me to be an exception for humankind rather than the norm.

As all other games in life, marriage has certain rules which are expected to be followed. But most people don’t always want to play by the rules. They say certain vows to each other, when they have no intention of abiding by them, although some may be serious at the time. I’ve realized, since I was of marrying age, that I did not agree with the rules of marriage for myself, so I knew better than to subject myself ever to such a commitment. More often than not, people get married for all the wrong reasons. They frequently fall in love with the idea of marriage and have been so brainwashed and influenced by their families and society in general, rather than seriously considering just what it really entails. If couples considering marriage would really think long and hard about what they were about to do, I think that there would be fewer marriages, therefore fewer breakups.

So here is the real deal. Let’s really explore this whole marriage thing. First of all, marriage is supposed to be forever. Till death do you part. Think about that for a moment. You are committing the rest of your life to one person and one person only, supposedly. That restriction alone is enough to steer me away from the whole idea. I am not a hypocrite and I would take all the marriage vows seriously. And since I have no intention of committing my whole life to only one person, I should not be married. It’s as simple at that. Marriage vows are basically the “mission statement” for marriage. If you don’t agree with them and/or don’t intend to abide by them, then just don’t do it.

Nobody has to be married, you know. Some people make a mockery of marriage—Hollywood movie actors, especially, what with all those hasty, multiple marriages that they go through. So it’s evident that they are lying when they are uttering those vows about the marriage being forever. They said the same thing all those other times, too, didn’t they? You know that something is wrong when a couple gets divorced after only two months of marriage, sometimes even shorter. They are not even giving it a chance. Or what they should have done is to take that extra two months to get to know each other instead of rushing into marriage.

There was a man on one of the TV talk shows who had been married and divorced 18 times and a woman who had been married 22 times! One of her frivolous marriages lasted only one day. What is the urgency and why the desperation, Girlfriend?! I try not to be judgmental, but wouldn’t you agree that there is something definitely wrong with those people? There is even a word for it. A person who has an abnormal interest in marriage is said to be suffering from gamomania. Even that woman was ashamed of herself. It’s difficult enough to find one man to make that kind of commitment. Everybody wanted to know how she got 22 different men to marry her—and in small town Anderson, Indiana, yet!

Were all of those men the primary reason for every breakup? Well, it occurs to me that the common denominator in all her relationships is she! It’s like the person who says, “Everybody that I have come in contact with today has been a real asshole.“ Uh, have you considered that perhaps you are the problem, rather than everybody else? Maybe Ms. “Gamo-girl” is one of those people who think they have to be married to every man that they have sex with. In that case, her gamomania stems from the fact that she’s just a nymphomaniacal slut! I don’t mind that, however; it’s the multiple marriages part that I have the problem with. It couldn’t have been true love with all or any of them. So after she’s made it with these guys and they have served their purpose, it’s “Next!“

Conversely, there must be some individuals who are afraid of marriage. In Runaway Bride (1999) Julia Roberts plays a confused woman who gets up to the wedding altar four times in the film and then does not go through with it. I kept thinking when I watched it, Bitch, if you don’t want to be married, apparently, why don’t you just give-a da up? Again, you don’t have to be married. As life seems to imitate art, a few years earlier Julia herself cancelled her marriage to Kiefer Sutherland at the last minute. I, myself, don‘t have gamophobia. I’m not afraid or against marriage. I just don’t want to do it.

I know that this is a so-called free country and all, but there should be some kind of statute of limitations on excessive multiple marriages, just like there is for polygamy. It negates the sanctity of the institution and makes marriage all a pointless joke. I have a suggestion or two. How about this? Why couldn’t consciously-responsible people put themselves on a “Marriage Quota” system? Allow themselves only one more marriage after an unavoidable divorce. But I even take issue with that. They don’t have to get divorced. They could try to stay together and work it out. Then if that second one does not pan out, that’s it, that’s all you get. A third marriage would occur only when someone loses a spouse to natural death. But I am afraid people would find a way to get around that. They then would be murdering their spouses, in order to remarry, which some are doing already when it suits their purpose. Why do they have to keep getting married anyway? Look, you tried it once or twice, it didn’t work out, so just stop doing it!

Or more practically, I think we should do away with the confinement of the marriage contract altogether. Why should consensual cohabitation be subject to legal jurisdiction? All other members of the animal kingdom couple and mate without obtaining marriage licenses. So are they all “living in sin,” and is every creature’s inevitable offspring considered a bastard? Humans have imposed a morally judgmental double standard with regard to us and our animal friends.

Let’s further explore the hypocrisy of marriage. First of all, we all need to face the fact that homo sapiens, as a species, is not, nor ever has been, a monogamous creature. Monogamy and fidelity are idealistic human concepts and are, in fact, myths. Realize that Man invented the institution of marriage in the hopes of curbing his wild, unabated promiscuity. He thought that settling down with one life mate would be a good thing for all concerned, that it would bring some kind of order and constancy to male-female relationships. But try as he may, he has never been able to quell his insatiable lust for multiple sex partners, although I, for one, don’t think that there is anything wrong with that. It’s just the nature of the beast, if you will, pun intended.

The early Christian Church may be responsible for suggesting the institution of marriage for its lay constituents in order to regulate paternity, for one reason. When a pregnant, single woman had sex with more than one man, she didn’t always know who the father of her child was. When she is married, it is then assumed that her husband must be the father. But of course, we know that that is no indication of proof either. He still might not know whether the kid is his or not, hence the need for modern-day blood and DNA testing to determine true paternity.

The original definition of monogamy is “the practice of marrying only once during a lifetime.” As archaic as that is, it’s both unrealistic and improbable. So the term has now come to mean “the state or custom of being married to one person at a time.” And even that meaning has been extended to include unmarried people as well. Some couples who are only dating, or if they are having sex, too, but only with each other, will say that they are in a monogamous relationship.

But still, if Man were meant to be monogamous, he wouldn’t have invented divorce. So there’s a major discrepancy right there. If marriage is supposed to be a lifetime commitment, then we have no need for divorce, do we? Presumably, people quit a marriage so that they can explore other relationships. Otherwise, they would stay where they are. Divorce is an all-too-convenient escape clause in the scheme of things. The first time anything goes wrong in the marriage, they want a divorce. “You’re not the person I thought you were; let’s get a divorce.” “Now that you’ve lost all of our money, I don’t want to be married to you anymore; I want a divorce.” “Since I am doomed to be a quadriplegic for the rest of my life, I will grant you your divorce, as you requested.” They seem to forget about their marriage vows of “for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” You know, “I’ll stay with you as long as everything goes my way, but if anything bad ever happens in our lives and if you ever get sick, I’m out of here!”

Espoused couples don’t seem to realize that marriage is a job and requires work on a daily basis. Most just give up and stop trying. They would rather break up than try to work out their problems. How about trying to stay together instead of running to the divorce lawyers all the time?  You made your marriage bed, now lie in it!  Or maybe they should have waited until they were sure or not have gotten married in the first place.

There is something definitely wrong with the system when more than one out of every two marriages ends in divorce. It’s a similar thing with prenuptial agreements. Either or both parties want to protect their interests in the event that the marriage doesn’t last. But they must be already worried about it failing or they wouldn’t be concerned with inevitable divorce settlements. That should be a clue and signal right there that maybe this union is not meant to be. Why do you need a just-in-case precaution for a supposedly permanent arrangement? There is one nation, however, who forces its inhabitants to honor their wedding vows. Divorce is not allowed in the Philippines. So I suppose the couples there, whether they are married or “living in sin,” are either frustrated and miserable or deliriously happy.

So divorced people marrying again negates the monogamy theory. Remember, one marriage partner in a lifetime. That also applies to widowed people. If your spouse dies, then you must remain single for the rest of your life. You can’t remarry, because you are allowed only one for your lifetime. Don’t you see how unreasonable and impractical that is? I figured out a long time ago that I could not expect only one person in this whole big world to fulfill my every need in life—sexual, emotional, intellectual, whatever. That’s such a burden to lay on any one person. It’s also unfair and unrealistic.

It’s said that there is somebody for everybody and our one true love is out there in the world somewhere. That well may be. But what is the chance that this special person lives right in the same neighborhood or community or workplace as you do? That could be the problem right there why most marriages don’t work or last. Those people don’t wait to find Mr. or Ms. Right. They usually just settle for whomever is convenient or available. “How did you two meet?” “Oh, we’ve known each other forever. We were high school sweethearts.” So out of all the people in this entire world, your one true love and soul mate just happened to be in the same class at school with you? You didn’t even have to look for each other. How amazing is that? But are they really The One? How could you know, when you haven’t met everybody? In all of my travels and living in New York City for 47 years, I still have not found my true soul mate. I have settled a few times, but none have ever lasted. They either died or we went our separate ways.

I have had many sexual partners in my lifetime. My experience has taught me that most men (I suppose women, too) are creatures of habit and routine. All the guys that I have sex with on a regular basis tend to do the same thing every time. I know what to expect from them, because I know what they like and what they like to do. My sexual activities are quite varied, however, and different men all like to do different things. If one guy doesn’t like to be screwed, then there is always someone else who does like it. Some guys are not into fellatio, and some don’t kiss as well. Why should I be tied down, for life, to someone who is not as adept or as versatile in the fine art of lovemaking as I am, or is not willing to do all the things that I enjoy doing? I can’t blame someone for not wanting to do certain things; it’s their preferential right. I just find someone else who is willing, which is my prerogative.

Let me explain it this way. I equate my sexual appetite with food and eating. How boring would it be if we each, like the koala, had to eat the same food item for every meal for our entire life? Sure, we all probably have a favorite dish which we like a whole lot, but we don’t want it all the time, at every single meal, do we? I certainly don’t. If I want pizza, for instance, I go to an eatery that serves them. If I feel like Chinese food one day, then I will go somewhere else. I regard sexual partners in exactly the same way. So just as we all enjoy sampling many types of food and flavors, I like to sample many types of men. Variety is the spice of life.

And anyone who says differently is just deluding themself or are in denial of their true feelings. A husband complaining, “Tuna casserole again?!“ is really a not-too-subtle metaphor for how he feels about having sex with the same woman every time. How do you think she feels as well? Any normal, sexually-able man or woman who has had sexual relations with only one person in their entire life–I’m sure there must be some–and is totally satisfied with that, has to be in the very least minority and is the exception rather than the rule.

Newsweek once ran an issue feature story with the headline, “No Sex, Please!—We’re Married.” It has been reported that at any given time and for whatever reason, there are 80 million married men and women who have expressed a disinterest in sex. They have lost all desire, and some don’t want their life partner even to touch them. So why then are these same people so surprised or outraged when their spouses with normal libidos go about looking for sexual intimacy elsewhere? What do they expect when they are not getting it from their spouse? There are wives who endure years of neglect and indifference from their husbands and vice versa. They may be romantically-willing and would certainly welcome the attention, but their spouses just are not interested and prefer to seek companionship outside the home. It’s unfortunate, for the individuals involved with these neglected spouses and sexless marriages, that it should lead to infidelity, but that is the natural tendency. Yes, natural. No reason to feel hurt or even betrayed.

Infidelity is so commonplace now, why is it even an issue? It certainly should not necessarily be grounds for divorce. I contend that marriage should be based on more than mere, mutual sexual fidelity. Is that all they have going for them? So the husband has an occasional one-night stand with another woman. Who does he come home to at night? Is he still a good husband, father and provider? Do they still love each other? In fact, consider this. If the wife is so put out by her husband’s infidelity and wants to leave him, claiming that she does not love him anymore, then why should she care about his affairs? Maybe that is why he is tipping out in the first place. But if she does still love him, she would not want to leave but try to fix the problem with the marriage. I’m not condoning adultery, exactly. I’m just saying that it should not be so big a deal as people make it out to be. They don’t have to break up over it. I would hope that there is more going on with their relationship than just sex.

There are some married persons—I imagine this is more common with men than with women—who maintain secret, double lives, with two separate families, residences and everything. It’s usually the original cuckolded spouse who is totally oblivious of their mate’s bigamy. Now I suppose the marriage contract could be amended to include adultery and polygamy as acceptable extramarital alternatives, which many married people do anyway. But then why even bother to be married, if that is what they intend to do? If you are not willing to share your spouse with other people occasionally, then maybe marriage is not your thing. You can continue to maintain separate households or even shack up together.

According to most statistics, marital fidelity is certainly more the exception than the rule. Whenever one spouse (married or not) begins to show signs of disinterest or unusual behavior, and even if they are completely innocent, usually the first thing that comes to mind is that the other is having an affair with someone else. So infidelity seems to be a natural conclusion for most, which would suggest that they are acknowledging the belief that humans, by design, are not meant to be monogamous.

For the religious-minded, adultery is considered to be a mortal sin. So why do these philanderers purposely put themselves in that position? If one is not married, then they cannot commit adultery. I was under the impression that polygamy is supposed to be against the law, but certain people, like your Mormons and some Mid-eastern and Asian cultures, apparently have gotten around the legalities of multi-spouse cohabitation. They must have some kind of diplomatic immunity when these guys can go on public television and flaunt this unconventional lifestyle and act as if their family situation is common and lawful practice. But then, how can bigamy and polygamy even be lawfully possible? When someone gets married for the first time, any subsequent current unions would be invalid. You can’t be legally married to more than one person at a time. It’s only the first one that counts. So all those other “wives” are merely mistresses or concubines.

Let me bring up the little matter of “premarital sex” here. This term has no significance to me whatsoever. It is based on the presumption that everyone in the world will be married at some point in their life. So to engage in the sexual act before that inevitable event is a violation of some kind of moral injunction. There are some religious fanatics that contend that sexual intercourse should be reserved only for married persons of the opposite sex and that any other instance of sexual union is sinful. This is an edict from “God Himself,” mind you. I say to these self-righteous ignoramuses, ‘God didn’t invent marriage, Man did!‘  God doesn’t give a shit what you do.  When “He” allegedly said, “Go forth and multiply, He didn’t add, “But be sure to get married first before you do.“

So, what about us lifelong bachelors? There is no written law that says that everyone has to be married. Are we expected never in life then to experience sex, just because we’re not married? Are widowed and divorced persons, regardless of their age, not allowed to have any more sex for the rest of their lives, unless they remarry?

Those of us who never intend to procreate are never to indulge in recreational sex?  I’m sorry. I love sex, and there is no reason why I should abstain from it.  I also have no intention of procreating.  There is no practical reason for me to make a personal contribution to the population of the world.  If I ever get the desire to raise a child, which is very unlikely, at least at this point in my life, I would consider adopting a parentless one that’s already here.  And as having children is a selfish endeavor in itself, I would not do it because I can’t afford it!  As I can just barely take care of myself financially, I never have been and still am not able to support a child.  Everything that they require, I would be responsible for providing it for them.  Until they reach a certain age, they are virtual needy moochers. They don’t work, and they don’t have any money themselves to contribute anything.

I find it interesting that the French word for unmarried is celibataire, which suggests that if a person is not married then they must be celibate, because, of course, one can’t have sex if they are not married, right?  So you see, even language is subject to arbitrary moralistic attitude. Pubescent children, especially girls, are told by their parents to “save yourself for marriage.” “If he really loves you, he will wait until you’re married to have sex.” That’s such an antiquated and impractical idea. That type of thinking suggests to me that it’s more about getting married, and sex is just one of the aftermath, occasional fringe benefits. The true fact is, if he loves you, he wants to know how you are in the sack!  I would think that she would, too. Suppose they don’t hit it off sexually.  Will they still want to get married because they love each other so much?  They could look at it another way.  A couple who don’t want to have sex with their intended may not be as in love as they think they are.  I mean, sex is supposed to be part of the whole love experience, isn’t it? If this is going to be just a platonic, sexless relationship, then why bother to get married?

I have heard that some female, and male, too, virgins refrain from having sex indefinitely because they want their first time to be “special.” Come on, if it feels good or you get your rocks off, that should be special enough for you! What are you waiting for? For myself, having sex with a potential lover right away helps me to determine how I will proceed with this person.  Don’t you like to try on shoes and garments before you buy them?  You may love that car on the lot there, too, but wouldn’t you get inside the thing, see how it feels, maybe drive it around the block first before you put out all that money for it?  So you have vowed to devote the rest of your life to this one person, to which sex is supposed to be a major part of the relationship, and you’re not going to check out the merchandise beforehand? That doesn’t make much practical sense, does it?  The other way you are just accepting and settling for whatever you get.

How many marriages are troubled and have ended because of the partners’ incompatibility in the bedroom?  One or both partners could be tired in bed, they might be too aggressive or rough for the other, one may be too big or not big enough for the other.  What if one partner loves sex and wants it all the time, but the other one just can’t be bothered?  These are things that I think you would want to know before you agree to commit your entire life to this person.  You know that sex is one of the main reasons why people get married in the first place.  Two people meet, are attracted to each other and want to jump in the sack.  But they think they can’t because they are not married.  “So let’s get married, so that we can have sex.  Never mind that we hardly know each other, we have little in common, your parents hate me and I hate yours, I don’t have a job just yet, and I am uneducated.  But we’re hot for each other’s bod, so we have to get married right away so that we can copulate.”  I contend, if you want to have sex, go on and have it!

Why does marriage have to be the prerequisite for sex, instead of the other way around?  Suppose this man enjoys performing cunnilingus, for instance, but his new bride is abhorred by the idea. “Your lips will never touch mine after they’ve been ‘down there.’” Now should he give up something that he loves to do in deference to this woman, his love for her notwithstanding, or commit himself to someone who likes having her vagina licked?  Then, too, married couples who never experienced any kind of sex beforehand can’t help from being curious about what someone else is like in bed.  They are always wondering, “Is this all there is to sex?  Is this what I waited all those years for?  What might I be missing?  What does a blow job feel like, for example, since my wife refuses to give me one?”

As I said before, sex with the same two people tends to become routine and boring.  They do the same thing every time.  They may enjoy what they’re doing, but there are plenty of other acts they might enjoy as well, if not even more.  That is what prompts a lot of adulterous affairs.  They want to see if there is something better, or at least different, out there in the world than what they are getting, or not getting, at home.  Who can blame the poor married sap, who’s never had sex with anybody except his wife, to be curious and turned on when a hot, sexy babe flirts and tries to put the make on him?  You know that he’s going to be tempted.  This longing is what helps keeps prostitutes in business, most of whose clients are married persons. I’ve heard husbands complain, “It’s the same old thing day in and day out, looking at the same person every day.”  Well, duh!  That’s marriage.  What did they think it was going to be like?  Weren’t they paying attention during the wedding vows?

A Crusader’s wife crept from the garrison
And had an affair with a Saracen.
She was not oversexed
Or jealous or vexed;
She just wanted to make a comparison.
–Ogden Nash

Some married men, and women too, reach a “midlife crisis,” when they start worrying about getting older and tend to want to test their sex appeal and attractiveness to other people. They will seek younger lovers, start affairs and even trade in their present model for a new one! It’s that “forever” notion again.  They want to try something new while they can still do it.  When a couple has been together more than fifty years, they probably are then too old to do anything else and will settle for what they already have.  Some women never experience orgasm with their chosen life partner.  Then again, I guess you don’t miss what you never had.  But that doesn’t make for a satisfying and fulfilling sex life either.

A guy I know confided to me that he grew up in a household where his parents seemed to be constantly so unhappy.  He later found out that his mother had never had an orgasm in her life and that she had married his father because she was getting on in years and did not want to die an old maid.  So she married the first guy who showed any interest in her.  But it never was any real love for either of them.  As one would expect, the frustrations of their loveless marriage did certainly rub off on their children.  This knowledge helped me to understand why this guy (and his brother, too) are the way they are.  I knew it must have had something to do with their childhood and parents.  We all are a product of our upbringing, you know.  A lot of married couples stop having sex altogether, and I don’t mean when they are too old to do it.  An old joke: How do you stop your woman from having sex?  Marry her.

Fortunately, sex before marriage is not the big immoral indiscretion that it was years ago.  Hollywood certainly helped to promote the no-sex-before-marriage notion for many years.  Movie characters would impulsively get married for the sole purpose of having sex with each other.  Of course, they never admitted that to each other onscreen.  Doris Day is a good example. She tried to act all innocent and virginal in her romantic comedies in which she played a single woman.  In April in Paris (1952) Doris and Ray Bolger are on a ship bound for Europe when they get the hots for each other enroute.  But in order for them to consummate their mutual lust—it can’t be true love yet; they just met—they get the captain of the ship to marry them right then and there.  They just can’t wait!  But then it’s discovered that the guy who “married” them is an imposter, with no real authority, and another character tries to keep the two lovers apart so that they won’t break the rules of morality by consummating their bogus marriage.  Is that silly, or what?

In Lover Come Back (1961) Rock Hudson finally seduces unmarried “virgin” Doris to go to bed with him.  But first he has to get her stinking drunk, I guess so that she won’t be able to control herself.  When they awake the next morning in bed together in a motel, they come to the realization that they have gotten married the night before but were too drunk to remember anything.  (Right!)  So now, with intercourse accomplished and finding that she didn’t like him as much as she originally thought, Doris has the marriage immediately annulled.  Unfortunately though, Rock has knocked her up, so nine months later (well, she couldn’t have an abortion in those days, now could she?) as she is just about to have her baby, Rock shows up in the hospital and marries her again, as they are wheeling her into the delivery room.  The great urgency is that they can’t have the baby be born out of wedlock.  So the writers managed to cover their tracks at every count. The characters had to be married to have sex and then had to be married to have a child.  Pillow Talk (1959), with the same two stars, has a similar plot.

Another moral issue arose during the Weissmuller-O’Sullivan Tarzan series (1932-1942), when the producers thought it was time for Tarzan and Jane to start a family.  But living together in the jungle meant that they were not legally married, therefore they couldn’t have a child out of wedlock, you see.  So, they thought, “What if they find an abandoned baby and raise it as their own?”  Thus the next installment was entitled, Tarzan Finds a Son (1939)  So the two were not married, in the legal sense, but did they actually think that the viewing audiences never entertained the notion that Tarzan and Jane were having unprotected sex on a regular basis?  Of course, they were!  Why wouldn’t they?  He is an “ape man” after all.  Even if he didn’t know how to relate sexually with a real woman, I’m sure that Jane taught him what he needed to know.  Why she never got pregnant, I guess, must be because she was unable to conceive or that Tarzan was sterile.  But being a non-issue, of course none of that was ever discussed.

And as Hollywood tends to break its own rules, the only times that premarital sex was allowed on film was when a female character is the victim of a rape, like Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda (1948) or Hope Lange in Peyton Place (1957), when an “illegitimate” child is important to the plot, as Diane Varsi is in Peyton Place (again) and the kid in Madame X (several versions), or when she is a prostitute. That attitude seems rather hypocritical to me. Movie characters cannot have sex if they are not married to each other or to somebody, unless it is germane to the story, then it’s okay–even adultery.

The type of character was a factor as well.  If it was some innocent, young thing, her virtue needed to be protected, but they didn’t care so much about some ol’ trashy whore, whose moral reputation had already been sullied. One near exception is the character of Agnes Gooch in Auntie Mame (1958), who as a naïve, inexperienced spinster, goes on a date with a man that she has a crush on, and returns home knocked up by him. But they covered their tracks again, however. It was eventually revealed that Agnes and her beau had gotten married the night of their date. She was just too drunk to remember anything, you see.

The Oscar-winning Best Picture of 1960, The Apartment, was all about marital infidelity.  Then there is the plot of Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1969) in which, while as an unmarried teenager in World War II Italy, Gina Lollobrigida had consensual sex with three soldiers during the same week and became pregnant by one of them, although she doesn‘t know which one it is.  She even made up a fake, dead husband, so as not to be deemed the town slut.  But I suppose that by the ’60s, sexual morals in the movies were not as strict as they once were.

# Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage; This, I tell you, Brother, you can’t have one without the other. #
I can, and do, thank you. Some people like to lump love, marriage and sex all together, believing that you can’t experience either one without the other two. They can’t marry or have sex with someone they are not in love with and they can’t have sex with anyone they are not married to. That kind of thinking would certainly have put a damper on my sex life, since I have never been married or never really have been in love with anybody.

Sex for me is an experience of pleasure to be shared with another person (or more) and has nothing whatsoever to do with love.  For me, it’s all about physical sensations, not emotional feelings.  I don’t have to know you, I don’t even have to see you, to have sex with you.  Some of the best sex I have had has been in darkened rooms with strangers where the encounter was initiated by groping and relying on tactile sensations without any visual stimuli.  Consider that in the case of all blind persons, their attractions and feelings towards someone cannot be based on what anybody looks like.

I hear people all the time confessing their search for love and to be loved, thinking that is what life is all about.  That is not the case with me, however. Mutual love is not all that important to me.  As I said, I have never been in love truly and deeply, so I don’t care to be loved like that, without feeling the same way.  My boyfriends have told me that they love me, but I always feel somewhat dishonest returning the sentiment.  I do love my friends as friends, but I am not “in love” with anybody.  I am content, rather, merely to be liked and respected by all.

I don’t believe in “love at first sight.”  You have heard of people claiming to fall in love when they first lay eyes on each other.  But is that really love?  I expect the emotion to be lust rather than love.  One can find another person to be desirable and want to have sex with them, but that is not real love. How can you love somebody who you’ve never met and don’t know anything about?  Love cannot be based on appearance alone.  Real mutual love encompasses several aspects, like personality, respect, trust, compatibility, and it’s an interpersonal relationship that develops and grows with time and age.  No one can accomplish all that on first sight. That’s what is wrong with a lot of relationships.  People are so superficial. They go after faces and bodies.  He is in love with her beauty, but he can’t stand her as a person.

When I say that I love a certain movie star or other celebrity, I only mean that I enjoy their work or that I like the way they look.  I don’t really love them, not knowing them personally.  Now there is such a thing as a one-sided love affair, however.  It is possible to love someone that you know and they not have the same feelings for you, and vice versa.  That’s how it was for me in high school.  But now, for me love has to be reciprocated.  I am well past my childish crush phase.  I will pursue a relationship only if I get positive feedback from the other person.  I’m not going to pine and make myself sick over somebody who doesn’t return my feelings.

I don’t understand these confused individuals who stalk and hound and pour their affections on people who don’t feel the same about them.  They don’t seem to want to accept the fact that it takes two to make a relationship.  As I said, I am not going to waste my time with anybody who does not want me.  I wouldn’t want to obtain the affections of someone who has been charmed by a love potion or spell, because it wouldn’t be real.  No one can, or should, make anybody love them if they don’t want to voluntarily.  “Look, I told you that I don’t want to have anything to do with you.  I don’t even like you.  Get out of my life!”  “Oh, Darling, you don’t really mean that.  I love you!”  “Yes, I do mean it.  Get lost!  I am in love with someone else.”  “Well, if I can’t have you, nobody will!”  BAM!  That’s love?  If your love is not reciprocated, then I will not be allowed to continue to live?  I thought that when you love someone, you are concerned with their happiness and want to please them.

I fail to understand how people can abuse, hurt and punish the very ones whom they claim to love and are supposed to protect.  Some people have some very misguided notions about love and relationships.  “I love you more than life itself.”  Stop!  I don’t love anybody more than I do my own life.  “I just cannot live without you.”  Oh, sure, you can.  That is so silly.  You were living fine before you met me.  Get over yourself.  There has never been anyone that I can’t live without.  I do miss people that have gone on before, but I‘m still here.

Some people are under the false impression that, generally, men have a higher sex drive than women do.  They always want it, whereas women don’t.  Of course, more rightly, it is an individual thing from person to person, and this is my observation rather than speaking from personal experience, but I contend that women love sex just as much, if not more, as men do.  Some try to act all demure and innocent and like to play games with men and use their vagina as a bargaining feature.  But when all is said and done, all they really want is to get laid!  They will endure all sorts of disrespect, mistreatment and abuse from a man, as long as he keeps giving her that dick!

It affects their personality and mood, too.  A content woman is one who is enjoying satisfactory sex on a regular basis, and your more unhappy ones tend to be those who are not getting it.  Consider the fact that it’s the females of all living species who bear offspring, and there seems not to be a shortage of human procreation in the world, especially, so somebody is having a lot of sex!  And that’s not counting the ones who practice regular birth control.  Aside from artificial insemination, most conception is caused by actual intercourse.  Then too, if heterosexual men are believed to be in the world’s majority, they must have participating females with which to commingle.  Besides rape and unwanted advances from men, most women are not doing it against their will.

Is marriageability based on age and looks? Phil Donahue, of all people (who I like and who should know better), told a young woman on his TV show one day, “You’re 26-years-old and so pretty. Why aren’t you married?” I was horrified that he would make such a sexist, condescending remark as that. What does a person’s looks, or age, for that matter, have to do with their marital status?  I am too fine and old enough, therefore I should be married?  Old and ugly folks get hitched, too, you know.

At one time people were constantly on Oprah Winfrey’s case for not being married, but she is one person who has apparently given the matter some serious thought.  Why does a woman desire marriage anyway?  She wants financial security (hopefully), companionship, someone to take care of her, she wants a father for her children.  Well, Oprah has said repeatedly that she does not want children, as she does not have the time or inclination to take care of them—another wise consideration on her part.  She has the companionship.  Stedman is her steady boyfriend, who I expect satisfies her sexual needs.  She is gainfully employed and has more money than she will ever need in life.  So what does she need or want to be married for? Marriage will not provide anything that she does not have already.  So, Oprah is an “old maid.”  But she’s a happy and independently wealthy one, isn’t she?  People should leave the woman alone about getting married. Actor Diane Keaton, 73, is another one who has never been married and does not regret it one bit.

Let me alert you to another double standard, as far as men and women are concerned.  Unmarried men aren’t as pitied as unmarried women are.  No matter how old a man is, he is still referred to as an “eligible bachelor” and is often admired for having eluded the marriage trap for as long as he has. There is no stigma or pressure put on him for not wanting to be married.  If it is ever suggested that he must be gay, all he has to do is declare that he isn’t.  It’s just that he hasn’t found the right “girl,” you see.  But if a woman is not married by the time she’s thirty, or even less, there must be something wrong with her.  She’s either so unattractive that nobody wants her, or she’s a sapphist.

Who says that every woman should be married at some time in her life? Don’t pity the old maid.  Spinsterhood is not the most shameful situation in life to be in.  Maybe Aunt Hephzibah never wanted to be married.  The centenarian Delaney Sisters, neither of whom ever married, were often asked what was the secret of their longevity.  Their reply was, “We don’t have a man around worrying us to death!”  The fact is, now that more and more women are independent beings with their own careers, their own money, and single mothers have proven that they can raise their children without a husband, marriage is not the necessity for them that it used to be.

Why then does a man get married?  In many cases he just wants someone to take the place of his mother.  He’s grown now and out of the house or he wants to leave.  But who is going to cook his meals, do his laundry, clean his house?  He certainly never learned to do any of those things for himself while growing up.  Besides, certain household chores are beneath him anyway.  With Mother gone or not around, who is going to take care of poor Sonny Boy now?  That’s why he needs a wife.  Plus, the extra added bonus is that, by rights, he can get himself a little free nooky whenever he wants it, something that even dear old Mom could not provide (under your normal circumstances).

Like myself, there are people, who because of their disparate lifestyles, should not be married anyway.  One young bride is trying to establish a show business career.  She is often away from home on various tours and out-of-town engagements, leaving her husband for weeks and months at a time.  An Army lifer has a wife and several young children, but he is seldom at home with them because he is always deployed or on assignment somewhere, mostly by his own request.  It’s certainly okay to have ambition and career aspirations, but if that is more important to you than being a stay-at-home spouse and parent, then you should not be married.  You are not doing your partner any favors.

There is a wife who is a compulsive packrat, who will not throw away anything.  It has gotten to the point where her husband wants to leave her because he can’t stand to live among the accumulation of useless junk in his house any longer.  I’m not totally against the wife, because I tend to hoard certain items myself.  The difference is, however, I live alone, so whatever I choose to keep in my apartment is my own business, and I am not imposing my idiosyncrasies on anyone else.  I don’t have to answer to or please anybody.  If I choose to stay up watching television until all hours and keep the radio on while I sleep, who cares?  It would behoove these people with special quirks and unconventional lifestyles to live alone as well, so as not to impose their selfish ways on disagreeable spouses or live-in partners. They want to have it both ways.  They think that they want to be married, which is supposed to be about sharing your lives and common interests, but then they become very selfish, inconsiderate and want everything their own way.

Another common problem in some marriages is the issue of money and the male ego.  I am referring to when the wife is the primary breadwinner of the family, or even if she makes more money than her husband, many men can’t stand that.  They probably were taught that the man should always be the one to take care of his wife and children.  But if the circumstances are such that the woman has more money or has a higher paying job, I don’t see what’s wrong with her supporting the family.  We know that it isn’t, but marriage is supposed to be an equal partnership, so why should it matter which spouse looks after their common interests?  Of course, there are men, referred to as gigolos, who don’t mind at all his woman footing the bills. That is why he is with her in the first place.  Male gold-diggers exist as do female ones.

If more couples were counseled about marriage beforehand, maybe they wouldn’t need it afterwards. You know, that’s not a bad idea. I think that premarital counseling should be a requirement just like a license is. Dr. Phil often recommends that very thing to couples who come on his show. Something so important to people’s lives should not be entered into so lightly.  Make couples fill out extensive forms and questionnaires which ask about their common goals and desires, expectations, compatibility, backgrounds and family histories.  Make sure that they know exactly what they’re getting into, and if they don’t pass the test, then their license is denied.

Just as we have to be qualified to operate an automobile, we should have to be qualified to be married.  In this way, we wouldn’t have a husband complaining, “I am ready to start a family, but my wife doesn’t ever want any children.”  Excuse me, but didn’t you all discuss that little matter before the wedding?  “I just found out that my husband is the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan!  I can’t let him meet my mother now, who is half-Jewish and black.”  Some Catholic parishes actually do offer and require premarital counseling with a priest before the couple take the plunge.

A newlywed wife was quite surprised to see her husband’s picture on “America’s Most Wanted,” as she had no idea that he was a wanted, dangerous criminal and fugitive.  Would a woman, or man, consciously and without any reservations, marry someone whom they knew to be a batterer, a rapist or convicted sexual pervert or child molester?  “I know that my fiancé used the beat the shit out of his five former wives and had sex with his young daughters and sons, but that will never happen to me and my children.  He loves me.”  Yeah, right.  I’m sure that he “loved” all the others, too. 

Even though King Henry VIII killed two of his wives and abandoned two others, he still got some more women to marry him.  Why do these women choose to ignore the blatant warning signs?  Are they that desperate or think so little of themselves?  “I know that I am worthless and unattractive, so I’m going to marry the first man who asks me, no matter who or what he is!  It may be my last and only chance.“  A woman about to be married confides in her friend that although she loves her intended, he works too much and is not at all affectionate, and she requires more attention from him and some romance.  Well, she should take that as a hint.  If anything, he’s probably going to work even more in order to support her and the family, and marriage to her is not going to make him become more romantic.  She’s just setting herself up for disappointment from the start.  I expect you can do better.  Kick him to the curb, Miss Thing!  Next!

I saw a teleplay once that began with a happy newlywed couple arriving at the husband’s homestead, where he conducts zoological research.  When he brings out his pet chimpanzee to meet his new bride, she shrieks and informs her husband, “I am deathly afraid of animals.”  They both seem very surprised.  I thought, How ridiculous!  What were they talking about all during their courtship?  You mean that the guy’s occupation never came up?  Or if it did: “So, what do you do, dear?”  “I work with all kinds of animals.”  “Oh.  I guess I will wait until after we’re married to tell you of my chronic zoophobia.”  Stupid bitch!

In Ira Levin’s novel A Kiss Before Dying, a psychopath murders his fiancée, then when the dead girl’s sister arrives to investigate her death, she subsequently gets involved with and in the 1991 film adaptation, unknowingly even marries the very man who killed her sister! Now wouldn’t a rational person wait until the murder is solved before rushing into marriage with someone she just met, just in case he might be the killer? A woman with amnesia marries only to discover that she was already married with a family before she lost her memory.  I would think that she would deal with her amnesia and cure that before getting on with a new life.  In both of these cases, I say, ‘First things first, y’all!’

One movie has a young, single woman who meets a man by chance and accepts a date with him.  All they do is have dinner together.  There is no sex.  The very next day, this guy proposes marriage to the woman, telling her that he loves her.  Loves her?  You met her just last night!  She doesn’t know a thing about him, but being flattered to be asked, I suppose, she accepts, no inquiries.  She finds out later that all this guy wants from her is for her to bear him a son, so that he can collect a family inheritance.  He has already killed his former wife, because she was pregnant with a girl instead of a boy.  What’s going to happen to this one if she doesn’t have a boy? Again, what is this urgent obsession to be married all the time?!

Aside from fictional accounts, I don’t know how people can just jump into marriage with somebody whom they don’t know anything about.  As far as getting to know your intended, don’t think that they are going to tell you everything about themself.  You have to do a little probing on your own. They may not want you to know about their other romantic affairs, including extraneous spouses, their estranged children or prior criminal convictions or mental illness.  Some will even resist knowing about their spouse’s past history, telling them that what they did before they met does not matter to them.  Let sleeping dogs lie.  But then when their pasts are revealed, they get mad for not being told or for being lied to.  How can you say that the past doesn’t matter when you don’t know what it is?  Maybe it does indeed matter.  “Well, I didn’t know it was that that you were keeping from me.”

Marriage should be built on mutual trust, but the trust has to be established beforehand.  If someone willingly withholds important information about themself before they marry someone, you can be sure that they will still keep things from each other after they’re married.  Husbands and wives regularly keep secrets from each other.  There may be major things from each other’s past that they have not divulged.  She abandoned a child years ago that is out there in the world somewhere, and he once spent time in a hospital for the criminally-insane.  But secrets have a way of coming out and when they do, the other one has the feeling of betrayal.  “Gee, if she would keep something like that from me, what else is she not telling me?” They won’t share their problems and would rather confide in a stranger than discuss important matters with their spouse, the one person who is supposed to offer support, understanding and not be harshly judgmental.

Friendship should be the basis of any marriage.  There are many married couples who don’t even like each other as friends.  I could not have a lifetime relationship with, let alone marry, someone who was not my best friend.  Think about that.  We all have close friends and acquaintances who pass in and out of our lives.  But shouldn’t the person with whom you make a lifetime commitment of marriage be your best friend—someone with whom you have common interests, whom you enjoy being with, whom you can confide in, who is always there for you, who will love you unconditionally?  One should not have to go outside their marriage to get any of those things.  If everyone would make that their main criterion, they wouldn’t jump into marriage with just anyone who comes along.

Plus, it takes a while to determine if the person you have set your sights on for a potential lifetime commitment is destined to be your best friend. We’ve all heard married persons refer to others outside their marriage as their best friend.  Who is that guy that they’re married to then?  I would hope that he would be their best friend.  Theoretically, best friends are forever.  So if one marries their best friend, the marriage is bound to last, because they will remain besties, no matter what happens to them in life. Couples who come to hate each other at some point must not have been friends in the first place.  I have never heard of anyone who loathes their best friend.  Their love is unconditional and brings with it forgiveness and total acceptance.  If you don’t have this with your spouse, then you should not be married to them.  But that’s only my opinion.

I contend that people rush into marriage too soon and without thinking it through.  By watching the TV talk shows, it lets me know what is going on in the world and what people are doing with their lives.  I find these shows to be very enlightening, but also maddening sometimes.  I am constantly amazed and appalled by people’s behavior and the rampant ignorance and stupidity displayed.  How can those people get on nationwide TV and display their ignorance to millions of viewers every day?  But then, I guess that ignorant people are unaware that they are ignorant, hence their situation.

One show had teenage couples who were so hot to get married, just couldn’t wait!  They were still in school, neither of them had any prospects of a decent job, therefore no money.  But they were so anxious to get married and start a family.  What is the fucking hurry, children?!  And they are so hardheaded, you can’t tell them anything.  Their mothers were there with them to try to talk some sense into them, having married young themselves and not wanting their children to go through the same things they did.  “But Mother, just because your marriage failed, doesn’t mean that mine will.” Are you absolutely sure about that?

One mother offered a compromise to her daughter who was about to graduate from high school and wanted to get married right away.  She allowed her to get her own apartment, which she could share with her boyfriend, and offered to pay her college tuition, if they would wait until she finished college before getting married.  If the girl went on ahead against her wishes, however, the mother would not pay for her college. Now I think that’s a fair deal, but this headstrong girl would not hear of it. She was going to get married anyway, no matter what.  You would think that these kids would learn from others’ past experiences, but they just won’t listen.  What is this widespread yearning to be grown before your time?  Childhood is so short, and depending on how long you live, adulthood can be many decades.  Why not try to enjoy being a kid while it lasts?  They’ll be grown soon enough.

And marriage ain’t no big deal anyway.  Why don’t they take the time to enjoy their adolescence and get to know each other in the meanwhile? These girls (and the boys, too), seem to think that that ring and license will somehow hold everything together and that nothing can ever happen to the relationship if they get hitched.  They are so naïve and inexperienced.  They don’t realize that marriage doesn’t mean shit nowadays, as far as its ability to cement a relationship.  Never mind that the divorce rate statistics for teenagers is more than 80%, they all think that they will be the one couple to beat all the odds.  Let them go ahead.  You can’t tell them anything. They’ll just have to learn from their mistakes.  Then the parents and friends who warned them can say, “I told you so.”

Whenever someone I know tells me of their marriage plans, I always ask them, ‘Why are you getting married?’  I have never gotten a satisfactory answer other than, “Because we want to.”  They will say, “We really love each other.”  Do you have to marry somebody just because you love them, and vice versa?  “Because we want to be together.”  So be together.  You don’t have to be married to be together.  “Because we want to have a family.”  Since when was a marriage contract a prerequisite for procreation?  “We want to give our child a name.”  ‘So give the child a name!  What are you telling me?!’  Do you have to marry your roommate in order for your joint pet turtle to have a name?  I agree that it may be good for a child to have two responsible parents, but they don’t have to be married to raise the child properly.

There are arranged marriages by the parents, whereby the betrothed couple may not even know each other, but it’s good economically for the two families to be united.   “They may learn to love each other in time.“  This occurs often in royal families.  Although the Prince loves another, who perhaps is past her childbearing years, he is forced to marry a younger, fertile, fair maiden.  The good news is, “Once you give us an heir, then you can carry on with whomever you like.”  Sound familiar, Prince Charles?

There are your “shotgun” weddings where a guy is coerced into marrying the girl that’s he’s gotten pregnant, perhaps, even though one or neither of them want to do it.  That was the case with my own parents, in fact.  When my mother got pregnant with my older brother, my grandfather insisted that she and my father get married, although there was no real love between them.  So the marriage was doomed from the start.  They stayed together long enough to have me, a year after my brother, but in only three-years’ time it was over for good.

There are your marriage-for-profit situations, when one person marries the other just for their money.  When it’s a woman wanting to hook up with a wealthy guy, his parents might complain that she’s just a gold-digger.  But so what?  Shouldn’t her parents want their daughter to marry somebody with the financial means to take care of her, especially if they happen to love each other, and she’s quite a looker besides?  They don’t want her to marry some poor slob with no prospects.  The girl’s father should not object either. Doesn’t he expect his son to support his wife financially?  His son, in turn, wants an attractive girl.  Given the choice of available candidates, who would go after the homeliest broad of the lot?

In the case of a man pursuing a woman with the wealth, her family don’t trust him because they think that he is only interested in her for her money. Even if that is the case, so what?  Her money can be used to support them just like his can.  And even if the guy is rich himself, he still may be after her money as well.  You know that those with money never have enough and always want more.

Besides your fortune hunters, there are your “Black Widow[er]s” who even go as far as murdering their spouse in order to get their inheritance or to cash in on their insurance polices. Then there is your “marriage of convenience,” whereas one or both partners, because they are closeted queers, perhaps, are in need of a beard, or one of them needs a Green Card in order to stay in this country.  In all these cases, marriage becomes a matter of politics or appearances and has nothing to do with love and commitment.

There was a short-lived reality series entitled “Married at First Sight,“ on which desperate men and women met for the first time at the altar! They wanted to have a wedding so badly that they agreed to marry whomever the producers picked out for them, sight unseen, no questions asked.  Now I ask you, how crazy is that?  And they agreed to have the whole thing filmed for all the world to see.  Is it their desire to be on television and will do anything to accomplish it?  The series followed the couples after their wedding to see if the union would work out.

I watched one later episode where one of the newlywed couples were arguing and complaining about each other’s personality and their opinions about various aspects of life.  I’m thinking, Do they expect each other to be something they are not?  How could you marry someone that you don’t even know, whom you may not even like once you get to know them?  One of these anxious brides told us, “I’m surprised that after only one week of marriage, we already need a break from each other.“  Why are you surprised, you stupid, impulsive bitch?!  I have met people who I don’t want to have anything to do with after I’ve met them.  I’m glad I didn’t marry them!

There are other hasty marriages where the couple have known each other for only a few weeks or months and learn not too soon after that it’s not going to work, which they would have discovered had they waited.  Even those who have longer courtships or engagements may find that they eventually are not meant to be.  On the other hand, if a longtime relationship is amenable to both, why mess it up by getting married?  I’ve known couples that got along great for years, then they got married and the whole thing soon went to pot.  Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have been living together for over 30 years, without the marriage license.  They have raised children together and seem to be very happy.  Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez are still good friends although they are no longer married to each other.  The same is true of Jennifer Anniston and Brad Pitt.  I know of many divorced couples who have a better relationship just being friends. They just don’t want to be married.  I find that commendable.

A stupid piece of paper doesn’t accomplish or guarantee anything, including fidelity and permanence.  I say, If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.  While visiting France a few times, I have noticed a certain national trend there.  I have met several heterosexual couples who live together and even have children together, and none of them are officially married.  It seems to be a common occurrence among the citizenry.  The French, for one, apparently have realized that one does not have to obtain a marriage license to have a committed, lasting relationship with somebody.

It is much more difficult to dissolve a marriage, and it is quite costly besides, even before the breakup.  First of all, there is the expense of the wedding itself, if the couple chooses to go that route.  People spend many thousands of dollars for a one-day event, and except for the pictures taken, there is little else to show for it.  There is the matter of whom to invite.  I see these shows and films where the characters are planning a wedding and begin the task of the guest list.  They will put down everybody that they know, even people that they don’t know, because if they invite this person and not that one then the other one will feel slighted.  It usually ends up with hundreds of names on the list.  And these masses expect to be wined and dined and feted.

In The Catered Affair (1956) Debbie Reynolds and Rod Taylor want to get married simply and without much ceremony, but her mother, Bette Davis, having never had a proper wedding herself, vicariously wants to throw her daughter an extravagant affair, which she and her husband, Ernest Borgnine, cannot possibly afford.  Why go to the great expense of paying for a bunch of people to witness a commitment to somebody?  Why not just post an announcement on Facebook or Twitter?  It’s free!  People can acknowledge the union anyway they choose.  “Announcement, Facebook friends!  John and I are getting married tomorrow!  Gifts are certainly welcome but not at all compulsory or necessary.  Wish us luck.”  Then if the couple change their minds or it doesn’t work out, no harm is done and no expense is incurred.  “Change of plans.  The wedding’s off.  Thank you for your comments.”

Check this out.  Compare these two dresses.  Here is a white frilly dress for $50.  Now here is a similar, white frilly “wedding” dress…for $5,000!  Which one is the more practical to purchase?  It’s just a dress to be worn only one time.  Now what about the rings?  An engagement and wedding ring are merely symbols of the couple’s union and betrothal.  So these guys will spend thousands of dollars (which they don’t even have sometimes) on a stupid ring, when they could get one for a few dollars that would serve the same purpose as one that cost $40,000.  They think that the more the man spends on his bride is an indication of how much he loves her, you see, when they should be using that money to live on.  In fact, some newlyweds don’t even have their own place in which to live, but he’s just spent all that money on a damned ring!

Oh! And get this. Some betrothed women are now taking “selfies” of their ringed hands and posting them on the social networks.  But some complain that they don’t like the way their hand looks in the picture.  So there is now a procedure that a plastic surgeon can do to make the hand more attractive in some way.  Now my question is this.  Who is so vain or so financially-irresponsible to spend $1200 to make their hand look good enough to show off their ring to perfect strangers?!  How frivolous is that?  I have heard of people spending as much as that on just the cake. For those who like to sew and bake, why don’t they make their own dress and cake? (Hey, I rhymed!)

An acquaintance of mine once hired me to sing a couple of songs for his female friend’s wedding reception.  This was his gift to her.  Hal covered my travel expenses–the wedding was out on Long Island–and paid me well besides.  It was a big catered affair with hundreds of guests in attendance. When I saw Hal about a year later, I asked him about his friend and how she and her husband were doing.  He told me, “Oh, that’s already over with. They didn’t even last a year.”  My goodness, they didn’t even give it a chance, did they?  So, all that money that was spent for a one day event, for nothing.  This sort of thing happens all the time.

Then when a couple do decide to split up, which is more often than not, there is a whole bunch of shit they have to contend with.  They both have to hire expensive lawyers to protect their individual interests, and depending on how long they were together, there is community property to divide up and fight over, child custody disagreements with which to deal, and there is a time limit to endure before they can be completely free of each other.  And then are they really free when, usually the man, has to pay his ex-wife sometimes endless alimony?  Marriage has become a lucrative business venture, and those who benefit most from it are the commercial capitalists—the wedding apparel designers and manufacturers and the bridal shops and jewelers which sell their creations, the wedding planners and party caterers, among others.  Then later the divorce lawyers come in to get their big slice of the post-connubial pie.

When an unmarried couple breaks up, all he has to do is pack up his stuff and leave, or if they are living in his place, he can just put her ass out!  It didn’t cost them anything to move in together, outside their normal living expenses, and it shouldn’t cost much to go their separate ways.  If there are minor children in the picture, they can live with whichever parent they choose.  They don’t have to go to court to have a judge decide what is best for the child.  I only hope that the fathers honor their obligation to pay child support without the courts demanding it, but of course there are those who won’t pay it anyway, even though they have been ordered to.

Look at how much money I have saved by remaining single all my life!  And I expect that the money that is and has been spent on unnecessary commodities as weddings, the accompanying accoutrements and divorces, during one year’s time alone is enough to feed and house all the hungry and homeless people in the country…possibly, the world, even!

But let’s face it, people just love weddings, don’t they?  If not their own, they love attending other people’s.  That’s another one of the reasons people get married.  For the woman’s part, she wants to be a bride.  And that’s where a wedding’s emphasis is, after all, on the bride.  She gets to make a special escorted entrance with her own special music.  The groom merely stands and waits on the sidelines.  Brides and their entourage even have their own industry.  There are bridal shops all over the world that specialize in the bride’s wedding apparel.  The groom doesn’t have his own store or special attire.  A tuxedo or any old suit will do, but a wedding dress is created and worn specifically for a wedding.

Dr. Phil once did a show on which one of his guests, a young woman of 23, was obsessed with having a wedding.  She already had selected her bridesmaids and what they would wear, the church, the reception hall, she even had her wedding dress.  Everything was planned down to the letter. The only thing missing was the groom!  In fact, this gung-ho bride wannabe didn’t even have a boyfriend!  So it would seem as if she hasn’t thought as much about long-term marriage as she has about the one-short-moment-in-time wedding.  Now, how crazy is that?  I would suggest that this girl just be a wedding planner for others, since she seems to like doing that.  Just live vicariously through others, I say.

(# I love to cry at weddings, how I love to cry at weddings; I walk into a chapel and get happily hysterical… #)
Why is that? What are you crying about?  It’s their wedding, not yours!  Why is everybody so happy?  Even when they first hear about someone’s upcoming nuptials, they get all giddy and congratulatory, applauding and celebrating.  In the entire scheme of things, I don’t know how a minor event as a wedding ceremony got to be the representative of the culmination of one’s life’s aspirations.  Young girls dream about their prospective wedding and their wedding day as being “the happiest day of [their] life,”  I would think that the many days and years of so-called married bliss that follow would be as happy or more so than a few hours of only one day.

Whereas a wedding is a planned event at which you can invite friends and family to celebrate a couple’s commitment to each other, to me, those hasty, spur-of-the-moment, impromptu marriages seem pointless and elitist besides.  “By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife.“ What does that even mean?  The legal definition of vested is “not contingent upon anything.“  So the whole legitimacy of marriage is accomplished by one person’s utterance of a few words.  But what gives anybody that power or authority?  Anyone can make that claim.  We are now legally married, on this person’s say-so?  Who the fuck are they?!  Why can’t two people, of opposite or even the same gender, merely make a personal commitment to each other and thus define their own relationship?  A third determining party or the law should not be involved at all.  You can invite people to witness it, but it still should be all your own doing.  Marriage, in the sense of personal commitment, is nobody’s business except the individuals involved. Animals mate with whomever and whenever they want and don’t ask for or need anybody’s permission.

By the way, I think that most congratulations are premature when they are conveyed for engagements and even weddings.  So, you proposed to somebody.  Big deal!  Anybody can get engaged or married, legal restrictions notwithstanding.  They don’t require any special skills.  The real achievement is staying together.  Wait to start congratulating the happy couple at their 10-year anniversary and beyond.  That’s the real test, and that is what I do.  “Wow, 25 years together, huh?  Congratulations!  And they said that it wouldn’t last!”  I don’t know where people get this idea about wedded bliss.  One would think that they would be clued into the marriage game by watching movies and seeing how other people in real life get along.  It’s hardly ever what they expect it to be.

A truly blissful marriage is again certainly more the exception than the rule.  It appears that everyone who “ties the knot” must think that their own marriage will be different from everybody else’s that has failed.  Love isn’t always enough to keep everything copacetic.  Couples long to have children, and many mothers go through serious postpartum depression, or what they call “the baby blues.”  Those who stay at home to keep house and tend to the kids have the feeling of unfulfillment, thinking that they would prefer to have a career outside the house.  Then they will often direct their frustration and resentment to their husbands and children who, in turn, may feel neglected and unappreciated.

“You know, since we got married, he’s really changed.”  He hasn’t changed. Maybe you are just getting to know him better.  People don’t change all that drastically.  It’s just that you don’t really know somebody until you’ve lived with them, learned their sleep habits, their eating habits, their bathroom habits.  Then some use marriage as a means to change their mate.  “Yeah, he’s a diamond-in-the-rough right now, but I’ll whip him into shape after we’re married.”  That is the cause of a lot of problems in marriages—partners’ trying to change each other into someone they’re not.  There is a comedy play with a title that sums it up–I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change!

Sexual incompatibility is not the only reason for marital rifts.  Certain personality quirks and behavior tend to be intolerant with spouses.  One woman on TV complained that her husband is such a slob around the house.  But as he’s been that way all his life, why would he change now that he’s married?  Remember, his mother always cooked for him and picked up after him, and now that’s his wife’s job.  Doesn’t she know that?  Why does she think he married her?  Don’t be all surprised and disgusted with him now.

People get together because they love the way each other are, but then they break up for some of those very same reasons, because of the way each other are.  “What a cute and delightful laugh you have!”  But a year later, it’s “Gawd, I really hate that silly, annoying laugh you have!”  “I love it that my wife and I are so much alike, we even finish each other’s sentences.”  But later on, it’s “Will you let me talk and stop interrupting me all the time?!”

A common complaint of wives is that her inconsiderate husband keeps neglecting to leave the toilet seat down for her.  Some have even broken up over it.  Now how stupid is that?  I don’t see what the problem is.  A toilet seat is designed to operate up and down.  I usually want the seat up to pee, or not, and I put it down when I need to take a dump.  It’s a simple procedure.  I understand that females always sit for whichever they have to do.  So if the seat is up when you go in there and you want it down, just put it down, you lazy things!  The guy may have better things on his mind than remembering if he put the toilet seat down or not.  He may get back in there before she does, and if the seat is down, he has to put it back up.  So, what difference does it make?  I can’t believe how some people can make so much out of nothing.

Marriage somehow instills possessiveness.  That piece of paper becomes a deed of ownership.  “I’ve got you now, so you had better tow the line.” Nobody owns anybody.  Slavery (at least in this country) was outlawed years ago.  We’ve heard women say, “You’re mine now.  I forbid you to look at another woman!”  How could anyone make such a ludicrous demand? Are they that insecure?  How does she expect her husband to go through life seeing and interacting with many people on a daily basis, some of them undoubtedly women, without ever looking at any of them?  It’s grossly unfair, if not impossible.  She seems afraid that the man has no restraint whatsoever.  “I know you can‘t contain yourself, and so that you won‘t be tempted, just don‘t look at any woman.“  How stupid is that?

“Take your hands off of my man!”  Many of the talk shows are always doing shows about “cheating” spouses.  What is cheating?  I can’t relate to that either, being an unattached bachelor.  I know that married people like to use that term for adultery, but unmarried people, especially, shouldn’t have a claim on monogamy.  I would think that one of the main reasons for remaining single is for the privilege of playing the field.  So when I hear those disgruntled young ladies complain that “I caught my boyfriend cheating on me,” I can’t be too agreeable.  He wasn’t “cheating,” he was just with another person other than you.

These people want to equate a “commitment” with having exclusive rights to someone.  I have seen situations where a man and woman go on a date together.  It was only dinner.  There was no sex afterward.  The very next day she sees him talking to another woman and gets all bent out of shape. “How dare he hook up with her when he was out with me last night!“  What does last night have to do with today…or you, for that matter?!  They are not “hooking up” anyway.  They are only talking…in public.  Or even if he is trying to get with her, maybe he’s comparison shopping!  You don’t expect him to settle for the first thing that comes along, do you?  He should confine himself only to you when there may be somebody else better?  If the guy ends up with you ultimately, you should be flattered by the fact that after checking out the rest, he found you to be the best.

There are quite a few family sitcoms on network TV now, and I have been noticing a plot trend in some of them that I consider quite disagreeable. Some TV parents are instilling their own feelings about monogamy and commitment to their adolescent youngsters who at the moment should be free of such notions.  A high-school teenage girl gets asked out on a date by a boy that she likes.  When her parents discover that the boy has been seeing another girl when he asked their daughter out, they are all dismayed because the boy is “cheating” on her.  They’re just kids, they’re not married to anybody.  How do they know whom they like if they confine themselves to only one person in the entire school?  It turns out that the girl, too, was involved with another boy when this other one asked her out.  The parents decide to mind their business and leave the kids alone.

On another show two male friends like the same girl and expect her to choose which one she wants to be with.  Why does she have to choose? They’re all friends.  Why can’t they just all hang out together?  All through my school years I always had more than one girl friend and more than one boy friend as well.  Since there was no romance or sex involved, at least not with any of the girls, what did it matter?  We all partied and went to movies together.  There was no “she’s mine” or “he’s mine.”  We all shared each other’s company.  I would prefer these shows to take the free and innocent approach to adolescent dating, whether than insisting on possessiveness and fidelity, as if they were married.  It is obvious, at least to me, that the writers of these shows are adult parents and are writing from their own biased viewpoint rather than how kids themselves think about such matters.

All this petty jealousy needs to stop, too.  I realize that most instances of jealousy are a result of insecurity and lack of trust.  The delusive person thinks that they are not good enough for their mate or not as attractive or not young enough or that the other person is going to dump them as soon as someone better comes along or that everyone that they come in contact with is a potential cuckold.  Come on, chill out!  But even if any of these fears actually are based on fact and reality, it’s not anybody’s fault.  No one can control someone else’s feelings, only one’s own.

And when someone catches their lover or spouse in the act of making it with someone else, they will often vent their anger and disapproval at the other person, as if it’s entirely their fault.  Well, it takes two to tango, so they both are guilty.  In fact, the married or betrothed party is more at fault. When I make it with a married guy, for instance, he’s the one who is committing the adultery.  There is no one at home that I have to answer to.  I may not even know that he’s married.  ‘Don’t be mad at me, Wifie.  He came on to me!’  “You stay away from my boyfriend!” ‘Why don’t you ask him to stay away from me?’  Of course, there are some individuals in relationships who welcome the feelings of jealousy in their partners.  They test each other, doing things to make the other jealous.  That’s supposed to convince them that they are loved.  But that still is an indication of insecurity.  They must not be sure how their partner feels about them, or they wouldn’t have the need to test their love.

The way people carry on about philandering partners, they act as if that is the most heinous crime known to Human.  People in relationships need to re-evaluate their thinking about monogamy and just be willing to share their partners with other people in the world, if the situation arises.  In the case of women who go after married men or men who are involved with someone else and then later marry these same guys themselves, usually act surprised or feel betrayed when their man runs around on them as well. They seem to want to forget that that’s how they got him.

My stepmother Emma, for instance (now deceased), tried to be outraged and all upset with my dad when it came out at his funeral that he had two other sons by two different women.  I am pretty sure that she already knew about them, but she was in her usual denial phase and tried to act like she didn’t know.  So she feigned anger when publicly she had to acknowledge that my dad was unfaithful to her.  Why should she be mad or even surprised?  I reminded her of the fact that she herself was having a blatant affair with my dad while he was still married to my mother!  So once she got him, did she think that he would never stray ever again?  Come on!  Once a philanderer, always a philanderer, I say.  And what goes around, comes around, too. Some other women only did to Emma what she once did herself.  Emma and I were friends, so I wasn’t trying to be mean, I just don’t like hypocrisy.

Moreover, some of these “other women” have the audacity to be jealous of their lover’s wife or any other woman (or man) that he might become involved with.  “I hate that you spend all that time with your wife and children when you should be here with me!”  What?!  Then get an unattached man, one whom you don’t have to share!

Two high school teenagers are in a non-sexual relationship.  The boy is all hot-to-trot and wants to have sex, understandably, but the girl wants to save herself for marriage.  The thing is, though, she’s not ready for marriage yet. She wants to finish her education and get her career going first, which is commendable.  She tells her boyfriend, “If you love me, you’ll wait.“  “We’re talking about ten years or more?  I don’t think so!  I don’t love you that much!“  So this boy gets it on with another girl at school who is only too willing to have sex with him.  When the first girl finds out about it, she’s all indignant.  “How could you cheat on me like that?“  Cheat on you?  If you expect a horny teenager to wait ten more years to have sex, you are delusional, honey!  If you are not ready to put out, then be gracious enough to allow him to get it somewhere else.  He might still be around when you’re ready some day.  Or she even might change her mind about him in ten years, and he would have wasted all that time for nothing, waiting for her. No one has exclusive rights on a bachelor.  If your boyfriend or girlfriend has other paramours in their life, then you must not be “The One,” are you? So get over yourself.

One conservative survey says that over 2 million American homosexuals are married or at some time in their life have been married.  Actually, I suspect that the number is much higher and even if it isn’t, that is still a lot of people leading dishonest, double lives.  Most have admitted knowing or at least suspected that they might be gay when they got married, and the rest were in major denial about it, so why did they go through with it? Because they have been brainwashed to reject their true sexuality for the socially- and morally-accepted one.  They try to convince themselves that being married will “straighten” them out.  Never mind that eventually they create frustration, resentment and betrayal for their spouses, their families and even themselves.

All this can be avoided if children are taught to recognize, acknowledge and accept their homosexual tendencies when they first become aware of them, and then encouraged to go with these feelings rather than doing what is socially-expected of them.  But then some marry with the full knowledge that they are gay, with the hope that their marriage will absolve them of any public suspicion of their homosexuality, and some people are gullible enough to buy into it.  If they’re married, they just couldn’t be gay.  I have encountered so many gay married people in my life, especially men, that I am not impressed or deterred by anyone’s marital status.  The proclamation, “But he’s married!” does not influence me in the least.  ‘So? Your point being…?’

Much controversy has arisen of late about same-sex couples desiring the sanction of marriage, just like “regular folks.”  Since I am for equal rights for everybody, I think that everyone who wants to should be allowed to marry, regardless of who it is they are marrying.  They should at least have the option, and I don’t think that their gender should have anything to do with it.  The Powers-That-Be still wants to have control of everybody’s lives. Our Declaration of Independence theoretically grants us all the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

But it seems that personal happiness can only be pursued according to someone else’s arbitrary guidelines, especially in matters of matrimony.  You can’t marry just anybody you want to.  There has to be certain social restrictions.  Otherwise, we would have adults marrying adolescents, including parents marrying their own children.  We’d have cousins, even sisters and brothers marrying each other.  We’d have people marrying outside their race, miscegenation between whites, Asians, blacks and other People-of-Color.  Then you would want to take it another step further.  We would have people of the same sex getting married to each other!  If we start letting homosexuals get married, what is the world coming to?  Where will it end?  Next, people will start wanting to marry their pets or some stray animal on the street or the store mannequin or that handsome corpse. I mean, come on, we have to draw the line somewhere!

During his administration, President Bush (Jr.) proposed a new amendment to the Constitution which would outlaw civil unions between same-sex couples, as if that is any of his business.  He thought that allowing gay people to marry legally would destroy the sanctity of the sacred institution of marriage, you see.  Well, that’s all homophobic bullshit, because if Bush was so concerned about the so-called sanctity of marriage, he would consider doing something about our current heterosexual matrimonial mores.  It’s the hets who frivolously jump into marriage for all the wrong reasons and then soon break up without any regard to their promised lifetime commitment.  Unabashed adultery runs rampant among het unions.  Many gays endure long-lasting, monogamous relationships.  In fact, when gays do decide that they want to be married, they are already in a committed relationship and have given the matter serious thought.  The majority of your hets cannot make such a claim.  They will marry just anybody, often on a whim.

To show the unfairness of marital rights, be aware that people who don’t even want to be married can get married.  Those who don’t ever intend to have children can.  Prison lifers, child molesters, rapists, abusers, addicts and any other questionable lowlifes, if they are straight, can all get married. But two people who are none of the aforementioned, who are upstanding, morally-righteous and deeply in love each other, but the fact that they are of the same gender, they are not allowed to be married.  What is up with that?  It’s not the gays who are ruining the sanctity of marriage.  We may be the very ones who regain its sanctity and respectability.  Of course, my comments reflect how it was in the recent past, before the law was changed in our favor.

I have a close friend, who shall remain nameless, who impetuously married a woman who he was not particularly fond of, nor she him.  For one thing, he’s gay.  But they bought a house together in the Bronx and very shortly grew apart, even to the point where they couldn’t stand each other.  Instead of divorcing, however, they found it to be less of a financial burden, because of the joint property holdings, if they stayed married.  And although they lived under the same roof, they stayed to themselves and had nothing to do with one another.  They didn’t even speak unless they had to. The wife finally moved out and got her own place, and although the marriage that should never have been in the first place is definitely over, they still have not filed for divorce.  My point in telling you this story is that anybody, as long as they are male and female, can legally get married for whatever reason, but still in some states, a committed, loving couple, who just happen to be of the same sex, cannot.  Is that fair?

If “Dubya” and all the other protesters are so hell-bent on trying to prevent certain people from marrying, they should be just as adamant about married couples divorcing.  Why don’t they propose an amendment enforcing the marriage vows, that would require married people to remain together monogamously for life and doing away with divorce entirely.  Let’s see how far they would get with that suggestion.  You should be aware that past Constitutional amendments all have involved granting certain rights to American citizens who have previously been denied those rights. 

This hateful proposal of Bush’s was the first one that would have taken away a cherished human right (the right to marry) from arbitrarily designated citizens.  Other countries have okayed same-sex unions, like Canada, the Scandinavian countries, Spain and the United Kingdom.  If the United States wants to be the leader of the Free World and set the example for everybody else, then it’s good that we have finally gotten on the ball and got with the times.  Queers are not going anywhere, and this is going to be a major issue from now on, so they might as well accept it.

So why would same-sex couples want to get married anyway?  Haven’t we suffered enough?  They are only playing into heterosexual conventions.  I think that one of the privileges of being queer is the fact that we can cohabit with our partner without the societal pressures and obligation of a legal marriage and all that goes with it.  Why do they want to mess up a good thing?  Why bother with getting married if you don’t have to?  But gays, too, I guess, get brainwashed about the institution of marriage by their families and Society.  Everyone should be married at some point in their life.  It’s what we all aspire to.  So people go through with it because they are told that that is what they are supposed to do, and it is expected of them.

But many of us don’t ever find a person of the opposite sex with which to take that big step.  So we either remain lifelong bachelors, never to experience the blissful joy of matrimony, a fabulous wedding or honeymoon, or if we are homosexual, we may make the decision to marry our same-sex lover.  But we were once told that we cannot do that.  But why not? I ask.  Both partners are required to repeat the same standard vows to each other, regardless of gender, so what does it matter if they are both of the same sex?  For whatever reasons heterosexual couples choose to get married, same-sex couples can cite the very same reasons.  Society’s disapproval, denial and refusal are simply a matter of homophobic discrimination.  It’s our life and our business, and if what we do does not concern these meddlers, why should they even care about who marries whom?

Although I am sure that he is not the only one, there is a baker somewhere who made the national news and whose case even went before the Supreme Court, because he refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, because he does not condone same-sex marriage, so he was sued on charges of discrimination.  I think that they are making too much of the situation.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and they shouldn’t be forced to do something that they don’t want to do.  The way I would deal with it is, So, you don’t want my money?  I will gladly take my business elsewhere.  One monkey don’t stop the show!  I am sure that there are plenty other bakeries that will welcome my patronage.  I don’t know how people can turn down good-paying work (that’s hundreds of dollars) for some stupid principle.  You don’t have to agree with it.  Just take the money and run!

A case in point.  A Chinese gentleman and a Jewish man are talking on the street one day when an Irishman walks up and says to the two, “I will give you $100 cash if you can tell me who is the greatest man that ever lived.”  The Chinese man immediately answers, “Chiang Kai-shek.”  “No, sorry.  You’re wrong.”  The Jewish man thinks a moment and then says, “St. Patrick.” “That’s right!”  He then takes a one-hundred dollar bill out of his wallet, gives it to the other man and walks away.  The Jewish man then admits to his friend, “You know, I did have Moses in mind, but business is business!”

But pardon my digression.  Why should marriage even be a legal issue?  We all have the God-given right to love whom we want, so we should be allowed to marry whomever we want.  The Government and general society itself need not be involved at all.  Even gay celebrity couples, some who actually marry each other, commonly break up, just like their straight colleagues.  So why do they bother to get married in the first place?  I suppose it’s because they can now.  But just because I am against marriage for myself, how dare I try to prevent somebody else from doing it?  I do express my opinion to friends and try to talk them out of it, but ultimately it’s their decision and their life.  If they go through with it anyway and the relationship later fails, I can have the satisfaction of saying, ‘I told you so.‘

As life frequently imitates art, I am waiting for this TV show plot scenario to play out in real life.  I love writer David Kelley for his always controversial, thought-provoking issues dealt with on all his shows.  During the last season of “Boston Legal,” the characters of lawyer associates Denny Crane and Alan Shore (portrayed by William Shatner and James Spader, respectively) decide to get married, to each other.  The controversy of the situation, however, is that the two men are not gay, just best friends who love each other and want to protect each other’s interests, in the event of illness and death.  The required hearing with a judge present some interesting arguments.  For one, the issue of homophobia is addressed, by the fact that the term “same-sex union” automatically implies that the parties in question are homosexual, which some seem to have a problem with.  But suppose they aren’t?  If two straight men or two straight women want legally to be married, would people have the same objection to them as they do to gay couples?

The judge wanted to know, if physical sex between them is not involved and they don’t plan on raising any children, why do they need to be married? And this is where the hypocrisy of traditional marriage is revealed.  The lawyers point out that men and women get married all the time for any number of reasons, many of which having nothing to do with love, intercourse or child-rearing.  There are married couples who never have sex and no children, don’t live together, don’t like each other, some don’t even know each other!  But if they are male and female, then it’s okay and allowed.  If there is no physical contact between them, then they are not doing anything immoral, which some of these protesters use as an argument for their objection.

So these two men who love each other, though only platonically, want to share their lives in a committed relationship, with all the legal ramifications that go along with it–which is why a lot of people get married in the first place–should be denied because they are not gay or of different sexes? Although somewhat confused, the judge could not find any real objection to their sane logic and granted the men permission to marry.  So that’s what I’m wondering now.  Does “same-sex marriage” apply only to gays?  Why can’t straight, same sex couples also be married, if they desire it?  I am curious for someone to test that theory.

A similar situation occurred on the final season of “Two and a Half Men,” whereas the characters played by Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutchner, heterosexual housemates, decide to get married, but as a gay couple.  You see, Ashton wants to adopt a child and learns that it is easier for a gay couple to adopt than for a single, straight man to do so.  The boy who plays Cryer’s son (the “half” of the title) is now all grown up and has left home, so they needed another young boy to continue to justify the show’s title. 

Also, the two lead characters on “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and Wanda Sykes, got married.  They are best friends and business associates and straight, but Wanda, a Caribbean Islander, needed a Green Card to remain in the country, so Julia agreed to marry her. I have not seen the episode in which they actually get married, however, so I don’t know if there was the usual protest and resistance from the other characters.

The institution of marriage carries with it certain societal privileges, and as a bachelor, I am aware of the imposed biases and find them to be unfair to us unmarried persons.  If we are all supposed to have equal rights under the law, why do married people get special corporate concessions and considerations that I don’t get?  Many things are set up with married people in mind.  For example, they get certain tax breaks and special medical and insurance plans. 

I saw a large billboard sign on the highway one day that was an advertisement for Holiday Inn.  In big print at the bottom of the ad was the promise that “Kids stay for free and kids eat for free!”  At one time that particular hype would not have bothered me as anything out of the ordinary.  But this last time I got to thinking, So people with families (that is, children) get special perks.  If I stayed at one of these establishments with friends or even with my lover, I would be charged their full price, but in order to get their special deal, I have to bring my children along, which I don’t have.

So I have come to the realization that people who are married, with children, are actually being rewarded for being in that situation.  “They” don’t give a shit about you if you are not married, which may be another reason why gay couples seek marital rights.  They want to be able to make settlement and property claims legally in the event of death or divorce.  The way things are now in some states, a person’s lover dies, and their spouse of 40 years wouldn’t get anything if their lover’s family contested it, or they are not able to make decisions about needed medical procedures or even corpse disposal, because they are not really the “next-of-kin.”  So gays have even told me that they want the right to marry so that they, too, can have the same protection under the law and also to take advantage of the special privileges and benefits afforded married people.

My argument is, why play into the System by readily accepting its biased attitudes?  Why should I have to be married to receive the things I should be entitled to anyway?  Don’t make me drastically change my life to comply with a biased law.  Change the laws instead to accommodate everybody, regardless of their marital status.  Remember, liberty and justice for all. And what makes them think that their being married will guarantee fairness and compliance?  Laws never influence or guarantee people’s personal attitudes about anything.  Anyone who has a problem with homosexuals, for example, their being married is not going to change that person’s opinion of them.  Marriage does not assure universal respectability.  So why even bother?

In conclusion, let me say a word about redefining the family.  Although the traditional family has evolved erratically in modern times, when the term family is used, especially by the media, in many instances it still refers to some kind of adult living arrangement where children are involved.  Just to be married is not enough.  One does not become a “family man” until he has children.  When a father says that he has to work so that he will be able to provide for his family, he means his children primarily.  His wife, unless she is just a dependent homemaker and does not work outside the home, will usually be able to take care of herself financially.  The media reports on “family viewing” and “family entertainment,” which refers to programming that they deem to be suitable for children.

But what is a family, really, domestically speaking?  My dictionary defines it as “a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head of household.”  That’s simple and straightforward enough.  I like that definition in one way because it is non-specific and non-sexist.  A man and woman married to each other with one or more children is not the only kind of family there is, however.  There exists every conceivable combination and situation.  Individuals don’t have to be related to one another genetically to be family, and they don’t need to involve children or even have to be human.  People consider their pets as part of their family, for example.  Live-in servants and close friends can be family.

The previous definition is also erroneous, due to the fact that family members all don’t have to live together.  I have lived alone for most of my life.  So don’t I have any family anywhere?  Sure, I do.  I just don’t live with them.  There are the biological families that we are born into and also the ones that we choose for ourselves.  The term “family values,” therefore, is vague and has no real meaning, since we don’t know which family they are referring to, and the fact that any given family has its own set of values, which undoubtedly differs from one to the other.

[Follow-up article: Parenting 101]

Color Issues

Part of my book is an entire treatise on white supremacy and racism. I have written enough material on the subject to satisfy a doctorate dissertation, if I were a candidate. In the weeks and months to come, I will share with you some of my favorite excerpts from this chapter. So let us start at the very beginning (a very good place to start).

I attribute the concept and prevailing attitude of white supremacy to be the cause and at the root of all that is wrong with the world. It influences the law and the legal system (certainly), as well as human relations, self-awareness and image, beauty sense, art and culture, the media, the field of entertainment, history, education, language and communication, economics, science and technology, commerce and advertising, public health, the Government, crime, drugs, religion and morality, even matters of life and death, virtually every aspect of our society. If you don’t believe me or you disagree with that statement, then you are one to whom this discussion is intended. Most Caucasian people don’t realize that they are inherently privileged, and they take so much in life for granted.

(# …I Don’t know if I’m black or white… #)? Let’s begin by recognizing that the published definitions for the words black and white are at the very heart of racism. This is how white is still described in my latest edition dictionary: “honest, decent, marked by upright fairness, spotless, morally or spiritually pure, innocent, without malice or evil intent, harmless, favorable, auspicious, fortunate, notably ardent, passionate, politically ultraconservative, counterrevolutionary.” Oh, really! That’s rather biased, don’t you think? It sounds a lot like me, for the most part, but I’m not white, am I?

Now check out what these white lexicographers say about black: “thoroughly sinister, evil, wicked, harmful, without any moral goodness, hopeless, sinful, dirty, dingy, soiled, indicative of condemnation or discredit, very sad, depressing, somber, pessimistic, dismal, gloomy, calamitous, full of sorrow and suffering, marked by ruin or desolation, disastrous, boding ill, characterized by hostility or angry discontent, sullen, inexcusable, indicating censure or disgrace, connected with or invoking the supernatural and especially the devil, characterized by grim, distorted or grotesque satire.” My goodness! You see? We didn’t have a fair chance from jump-street. But I’m not any of those things, so then, am I black?

Most of those descriptions must be referring to human characteristics. They wouldn’t be talking about snow’s being honest and moral or a lump of coal’s being evil and calamitous. So it seems that they are more about symbolic and metaphorical concepts rather than matters of light frequencies. But why are all the descriptions for white positive traits and all the ones for black are negative? What’s up with that? For white they neglected to include, “bland, square, having a poor sense of rhythm,” as in, “She is so ‘white.’” If they would dare print and perpetuate such irresponsibly-biased tripe in a dictionary, which is an important, universal learning tool, no wonder that people, black and white, grow up with pre-conceived notions about the races.

Let’s consider the source for a moment. Lexicographer Noah Webster [1758-1843] lived during a time when white men were already running the country and black people were regarded as not even human. His publications for standardized grammar, spelling and English word definitions were the dominant references in American schools for generations. As with the Bible, many word meanings haven’t changed or gotten upgraded in subsequent editions. In this particular instance, with regard to black and white, it seems that these new dictionary editors (all white, no doubt), apparently haven’t bothered to revise those definitions to reflect modern times, either.

Plus, we have these words and phrases with negative connotations, such as the black arts and black magic, blackball, Black Death, blackguard, Black Hand, blackhearted, blackleg or blackquarter, blacklist (of course, a “white list” contains approved or favored items), blackmail, black market, Black Mass and black widow[er], denoting a multiple spouse killer. Unfortunate day events receive a “black mark” against them, to wit: Black Sunday and Black Thursday. Black September refers to the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre of Israeli athletes, and the “Black Sox” World Series of 1919 was when team members of the Chicago White Sox accepted money for throwing the games.

Similar to a blacklist, the legal profession has a “brown file,” in which a superior court justice accumulates arbitrary blunders and misjudgments done by another jurist to use against them to effect a bench removal or reassignment. The word denigrate, from the Latin, meaning to blacken, has come to mean “to cast aspersions, defame, belittle,” in other words, “to negrofy.” Angel-food cake is white, while devil’s-food cake is dark. I am pretty sure that no self-respecting person-of-color would have given those pastries those particular distinguishing names.

Do you think that this is only old-time thinking? There is a computer game out just a few years ago called Black & White, which has a two-fold premise in its game play. The protagonist of the Black game is an evil, malevolent god figure, while the White game’s god is kind and benevolent. With certain electrical connections the negative wire is the black one. Film noir (the French word for black) is characterized by dark, somber moods and cynical, pessimistic themes. If a film has sick or “dark” humor, it is called a black comedy.

A bête noire (black beast) is a person or thing that is disliked or feared, therefore avoided. Of the many varieties of kryptonite that have been created for the Superman franchises, someone came up with black kryptonite, exposure to which turns Kryptonians, including Superman, evil. And an already evil, malicious person is said to have gone over to the “dark side.”

Since all the male actors in old western movies are white, we have to have some way to tell them apart. So the good guys all wear white hats (except for Hopalong Cassidy) and black hats are usually worn by the bad guys. In the famous Chariot Race scene in Ben-Hur virtuous and benevolent Judah drives four white horses, while the evil villain Messala drives a team of black ones. Black Bart is a bad guy, even though he’s always depicted as a white character. The evil “Black Prince” Pendragon from Jack the Giant Killer (1962) was played by white actor Torin Thatcher. In the 1998 remake of Death Takes a Holiday the writers chose to name the character of personified Death “Joe Black,” although the very white Brad Pitt was cast to play the role. There are other white movie characters named Blackie. So I guess it’s okay to name somebody Black, as long as they really aren’t. I don’t suppose that actors Jack Black and the late Karen Black, for example, are/were considered evil people.

# …May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white.# Even the holiday classic “White Christmas” takes on metaphorical proportions, in that the lyrics reflect goodness and hope and positive sentiments, which translates to whiteness. The song is not just about snow, if at all. Elvis Presley sang about having a “Blue Christmas” while missing his true love during the holidays, and “Black Christmas” is a mad slasher horror film, no surprise there!

So, virtually anything and everything in the world that is bad or has negativity, just attribute it to the color black. Even an innocent, black cat is associated with witchcraft and sinister, superstitious beliefs, while a white one portends good luck, as if the animals themselves have anything to do with what color they come out, then have to behave accordingly. Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, too, elicits imaginary fear and dread by its very appearance, just because it’s black. I mean, it’s just a harmless bird. I don’t think that his poem would have the same menacing effect if he had used, say, a dove.

A film was released in 1947 whose cast is made up entirely of trained birds! It is called Bill and Coo, and the title characters are lovebirds. There are also songbirds and sparrows and jays and all different kinds of birds featured as well. None of the birds speak; there is a voiceover narrator to tell the story, but there are built sets, and the birds wear appropriate costumes for their particular characters. As all fantasy tales have to have a villain, who do you think they got to play it? Why, a crow, of course! They dubbed it “The Black Menace,” and all it does is stalk around the set “terrorizing” all the other little birds.

In any drama the character dressed in black, even if it’s an innocent creature, has to be the bad guy. The same can be said of the Star Wars villain Darth Vader. How seriously would anyone take him if his costume was all white instead of black? The Storm Troopers wear white “uniforms,” but they are soldiers, defenders of the realm, as it were, therefore considered good guys, I suppose. Moreover, although symbolic and proverbial that it is, since black is an evil, disreputable color in itself, it follows then that all black people must be, too. So with that thinking, when black actor Morgan Freeman portrayed God in Bruce Almighty (2003), of course he appropriately is dressed all in white when he reveals Himself to Jim Carrey.

Here is another for instance. Since most sheep in a flock are white, the designated “black sheep” in one’s family is the odd, strange, unconventional member, you know, different from the rest of the flock, so to speak. But this symbolic analogy is appropriate only for white people. A black family’s “black sheep” doesn’t stand out as anyone special, as they are all the same. It’s not a term that they would normally use. The expression is therefore racist, as it was created by whites to be used by them for their own appropriation. You’ll notice, too, that the expression carries with it a negative connotation.

In western civilizations, at least, black is the color for mourning and is often associated with death and morbidity, while white symbolizes purity and goodness. Waving a white flag at an imagined adversary signifies surrender or that they are the good guys who “come in peace,” and a “little, white lie” is not so bad. “The Great White Hope” is a white contender for a boxing championship held by a Negro. Their hope is that he wins back the championship for their own people. “White man’s burden,” from a poem by Rudyard Kipling, refers to the alleged duty of white peoples to manage the affairs of the less-developed nonwhite peoples. I guess it is considered a burden for affluent whites to help those who are less-fortunate than they.

Some other exceptions for white may be the white feather, which is a symbol for cowardice. Something said to be “white bread” or “vanilla” is dull, boring and uninteresting. A white elephant is an object of little or no value. White slavery, which is enforced prostitution, is not a favored activity except by its promoters and those who benefit by it. And “whited sepulcher,” a Biblical reference, pertains to a person who outwardly appears to be virtuous and holy but is inwardly corrupt or wicked, like some hypocrites.

I can think of only eight exceptions where black has a favorable connotation. “Black gold” is another name for valuable, much-coveted petroleum, the highest rank to attain in karate is a black belt, and when a business is profitable, its financial report is said to be “in the black.” The original “Black Friday” referred to a financial crisis in 1869, but now it has come to refer to the day after Thanksgiving, when many merchants make their first profits of the year with the Christmas shopping boom, thus bringing their businesses well into the black. Visa has now come out with an exclusive “Black Card,” which is made of stainless steel and has special benefits and privileges attached to it. Similarly, Dannon’s Oikos Greek yogurt now has a Black Cup variety that is so wonderfully special, as it contains no sweeteners and no fat (and probably no flavor either!).

TV comedian Soupy Sales had two sidekick puppets on his kiddie show, more than a half-a-century ago, named White Fang and Black Tooth. All we ever saw of them on screen, however, was a giant, furry paw. But in this case, Black Tooth was touted as “the sweetest dog in the United States,“ while White Fang was “the meanest dog in the U.S.” I expect that the producers did that on purpose, and I commend them for it. Then there is the beloved, although quasi-oxymoronic, literary horse name, “Black Beauty.“ A “black moon” is merely a darkened lunar phase, but not a bad thing, and the two occupations that don’t have a negative connotation in themselves are blacksmith and bootblack.

A little girl, attending a wedding for the first time, whispers to her mother, “Mommy, why is the bride dressed all in white?” “Because white is the color of happiness, and today is the happiest day of her life,” her mother explains, trying to keep it simple. The child thinks for a moment, and then asks, “So why is the groom wearing black?”

I believe that the only way for a white person truly to understand what it is like to be a person-of-color in this white racist society, is to be one, that is, to walk in his shoes for a time, but that is something that very few are inclined or willing to do. Reporter John Howard Griffin, the author of Black Like Me, did it in the ’50s, and others have done it more recently. In the 1964 film, based on the book, Griffin’s character, played by James Whitmore, after he has darkened his skin with some kind of pills and skin treatment, really learns his lesson in race relations. He isn’t allowed to be himself but has to act and talk a certain way and relate to his own people differently. Surprisingly for him, he receives nothing but kindness, courtesy and helpfulness from every black person that he encounters during his journey of a few months. But from his fellow whites, all he ever gets is intimidation, condescension, abuse and cruel insults. Before too long, he becomes defensive, very bitter and distrustful toward his own people. He soon loses all self-respect and even the sense of his true identity.

Most of them just don’t get it. I wish that every single white man, woman and child in America (especially the politicians and law enforcement personnel) could be made black for just one day and go about their normal routine. That’s all it would take for them to know. And not everybody at once but one person at a time, so that they can experience the singling out and the solitary isolation as well. I’ll bet you that a lot of things would change in a hurry. I include the children in my little experiment so that they may be aware of the situation while they are young and impressionable, before they become indoctrinated and set in their racist ways.

One young white man, who appeared on “Oprah,” submitted to the same treatment as Griffin because he wanted to see for himself what it was really like. He said that his black friends were always complaining about racist attitudes, and he thought that they were exaggerating and that things couldn’t be as bad as they were making them out to be. Well, he found out first-hand that it was worse than he ever imagined. He had planned on doing his experiment for a whole month, but after just one week, he was ready to give up. Oprah made the point, “I’ve been black every day for 40 years. You were black for only a week and couldn’t take it.”

This guy and Griffin, too, both thought that the South would be the most appropriate place to do their research. I guess they didn’t realize that they could have found out the same thing in New York City or anywhere else up North. In fact, it might have been better for them to go to many different regions of the country and abroad to do a comparative study, to see how blacks are regarded in places other than just the South. By no means is the South the only place in this country where racism prominently prevails. In fact, the South just may have it more together racially, in some respects, than some Northern locales.

In Soul Man (1986) C. Thomas Howell made himself black in order to take advantage of a Harvard scholarship opportunity. Well, some of the other white students give him such a hard time, it becomes more trouble than it’s worth. You will note that Harvard is a Northern school, by the way. When Tommy’s professor, played by James Earl Jones, discovers his charade, he comments that at least the young man learned what it is like to be black. Tommy replies, “No, Sir, I don’t know what it’s really like, because when I’ve had enough, I can change back. It’s not the same thing, is it?” He’s right. We don’t have that option. We’re stuck with the way we are.

On one episode of “Touched by an Angel” the angel character of Monica, played by Caucasian actor Roma Downey, is turned black for a short period to teach her (and the viewing audience) an important lesson. She is in the South somewhere and is being chased by some “good ol’ boys” and is about to be lynched when instead of “Stop those men from killing me,” or “Take me out of harm‘s way,” she prays to her boss, God, “Please (to) make me white again!” “He” does comply just in time, but Monica gets the message. “Oh. I guess that request doesn’t work for real black people in that situation, does it?” She tells her fellow angel, Tess (Della Reese), later that a white person in that same situation would never have wished to be black. At that moment Monica thought that being white would solve all her problems. What she should have prayed for was that God fix the minds of all racial bigots in the world, teach them tolerance and to eradicate forever the notion of white supremacy in all humankind, instead of wishing to have her color changed. Color should never be an issue. It’s people’s attitudes that need to be addressed.

On that same “Oprah” show was a young black man who found out that white men are treated differently than blacks, when he tried the reverse procedure. The lesson learned from these experiments and trans-color impersonations is that their treatment by others is not based on actual reality. I contend that reality is a state of mind. Those white guys were treated as black people would be, but not because they were really black but because they were perceived to be black. It’s the same with fag bashers. It doesn’t matter if you are really gay or not, as long as they think that you are, you’re going to get the same treatment as they would give a gay person. That is what I find so irrational about any kind of prejudice. We are all regarded according to other people’s perceptions of us, rather than who or what we really are.

Besides black and white, you must also be aware of the symbolic use of other colors in our everyday lives. Different colors stand for different things and ideas. Among other things, the color green stands for inexperience, tranquility, jealousy and as of late, environmental awareness, yellow stands for cowardice and sensationalism, blue means sadness, melancholy, both Puritanism and indecency, purple denotes royalty, profanity and an elaborate literary style, while red is suggestive of fire, rage and Communism. It was comic actor Martin Lawrence who hipped me to the following, in a scene from Boomerang (1992), when he pointed out that the game of Pool (or Pocket Billiards) has racist overtones. I will elaborate on Lawrence’s explanation.

First of all, the playing surface is green, or brown in some cases, which, in this particular instance, could represent the earth. The cue ball, which is white, is the main honcho. It controls the table and all the action of the game. In effect, it’s the Ruler of the Earth, okay? Now, the white ball’s function is to get rid of all the colored balls in its presence by knocking them off the face of the earth. Actually, the colored balls are merely a diversion for the white cue ball, because what it is really after is the black ball, in particular! And once “he” has conquered it, no, annihilated it, the game is over, with the almighty white ball remaining all alone on the table, ready to take on the next group of “coloreds” that invade his yard, which the green table could also represent.

The game is set up so that the white ball is always in charge, not any of the other balls. Another coincidence? I don’t think so. Why does it have to be the white ball in particular running the show? A solid black ball, or any other color for that matter, could just as well be the cue ball. There are no accidents. I’ll bet you that the inventor of the game, most likely some white gentleman, since it began in Italy, knew exactly what he was doing when he was making up the rules, even if it was a subconscious effort on his part. He was following his natural, white supremacist proclivities. It’s “symbolic racism” at its most blatant to me, however subtle to others.

And don’t tell me that the people who play Pool are not subliminally influenced by it. If TV-viewing and gratuitous violence can have a subconscious effect on our youth and the rest of society, as many now believe, then I think that repeated exposure to Pool can certainly instill in one the subconscious message of white supremacy. This holds a personal irony for me, though, because “Pool” was the answer to the question that won me $32,000 on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” in 2003. By the way, and I ask this rhetorically, in the game of Chess that uses black and white playing pieces, why is it white who always moves first?

This type of disguised, symbolic racism is evident in our U.S. currency as well. Since, prior to Barack Obama, the country has always been run by white men, it would follow that our money should reflect that fact. It’s no coincidence there either. All our bills and coins have pictures of white men on them exclusively, excluding the now out-of-print Indian-head nickel. Now check out the penny. It’s a different color than all the other coins. And what color is it? Coppery, dark, “colored,” if you will. It has the least value of all the coins. Even if you have a bunch of them together, they are still worth less than the same number of any of the silver coins. People tend to disregard pennies and discard them. When lying on the street, people will just ignore them and walk over them. Some people won’t even have them in their possession, and some will retain them only to make small change. Like when someone makes a purchase that comes to $5.04, for example, and all they have is a five and a twenty-dollar bill. But they just happen to have four pennies to keep from having to break a whole twenty. So the pennies end up serving as “The Help.” Okay?!

Who is old enough to remember when Johnson & Johnson came out with those “flesh-colored” Band-Aid bandages? And Crayola even put out a color crayon called “Flesh.” Whose flesh did they use as a prototype? They certainly don’t match the skin tones of anybody in my family! That just shows their obvious disregard for nonwhites. A racially-sensitive manufacturer right away would have come up with a non-color-specific product, that is, a clear bandage that would adapt to everybody’s skin tone, regardless of their particular pigmentation. I learned that Crayola apparently got the word or became enlightened, at least, and subsequently changed the name of their Flesh crayon to Peach.

There is a form of pervasive racism in our society that is most prevalent and unavoidable, due to its intentional deliberateness. As I said earlier, white people take so much for granted, just given their mere being. I will admit that things are noticeably different these days, as far as exclusivity goes. Finally, some ad agencies and casting directors seem to be making a real effort to feature ethnic actors and models other than just white ones all the time. But all the while I was growing up, it certainly wasn’t that way. The racist campaign was very definite and undisputed.

Try to imagine what it’s like for People-of-Color—and I am including your Asians and dark Latinos here—to be part of a culturally-diverse society but our very existence to be constantly unacknowledged, when virtually every visual, humanoid image that we encountered in life, whether it be real or fictional, was, and still is in most cases, a Caucasian one. It was evident in newspaper and magazine ads, all comic strip and cartoon characters, every traditional fairy tale and nursery rhyme character (except Little Black Sambo), every model in most mail-order catalogs, every billboard and store mannequin, pictures on cereal boxes, sheet music and album covers (even if the performing artists contained thereof were other than white!), commercial toys and games, most dolls and action figures, the play figure in Operation, the Visible Man (and Woman), the characters in Clue, even the face cards in every set of playing cards that I have ever seen, most greeting cards and picture postcards (drawings as well as photographs), stamps and holiday postal seals, all currency, the faces on pinball machines, video and computer games, the Gerber Baby, Mr. Clean, the Quaker guy, Captain Morgan, Cap’n Crunch, the Brawny Towel Man, the Arm and Hammer logo, Betty Crocker, the Morton Salt Girl, Little Debbie, Swiss Miss, the Chicken of the Sea Mermaid, Mrs. Butterworth (although the human-shaped bottle container is brown glass, the commercials depict her as a white woman), Keebler Elves, People Crackers, Superman (and every other superhero), all angels, Howdy Doody, Father Time, Cupid, Uncle Sam, Santa Claus, Adam and Eve, Jesus Christ, God. Why does everybody have to be white?!

There are only a few exceptions, though racist some of them are. The most famous black commercial images are, of course, Aunt Jemima (pancake products) and Uncle Ben (rice), my objection to which I have already cited (see my Walt Disney article). But then, why isn’t our Uncle Sam black? Because Uncle Sam symbolizes the good old U.S. of A., and we all know that America, by all accounts, is a White country. Isn’t it? Aunt Jemima, by the way, has changed her logo image at least by losing the “’do rag” that she used to wear on her head.

Incidentally, it is not common knowledge that the original “Aunt Jemima” was a white woman named Tess Gardella, who gained fame in vaudeville performing in blackface! She played Queenie, a black character, in the original production of Show Boat on Broadway in 1927. There were a number of available and capable black actresses that could have done the part, but they chose to cast a white woman instead. Maybe they were concerned about our feelings. Calling a white person a nigger, even in play-acting, wouldn’t be the same as constantly saying it to a black actor. See my article entitled, Black History, Part 3: Racism via Show Business. Here are a few old commercial ads that I have come across, which are probably discontinued by now.



For that Dixie Boy ad, I appreciate their depicting a nice-looking, well-groomed black youth eating a grapefruit. I am so glad it isn’t a watermelon! There is at present Stubb’s Harvest (canned vegetables) in Austin, Texas, which uses a picture of its founder and manufacturer, a C.B. Stubblefield, a black man who resembles my own father, on the can. He would probably be an “Uncle” too, if whites had had their way about it. And Sylvia’s, a famous Harlem soul food restaurant, markets canned goods as well, with proprietor Sylvia Wood’s picture on the label.

The biggest surprise of all, however, was the promo ad card that I received in the mail from Gap (clothing) some years ago, which chose as its picture model a good-looking, dark-skinned, Afro-American man. Now, why did I have to wait 53 years to see that?! It’s been even longer for those who are older than I am. I am so impressed by their decision to do that, I would even shop there. Another similar ad was in a more recent TV Guide issue for Wrangler denims. And I see that Luvs is now putting a picture of a black baby model on their diaper packages. After all, black people have babies, too, don’t they?

But that is only eleven examples, compared to the many thousands of Caucasian ads and images that we all have encountered in life and still come across on a daily basis. Even now, for example, when I click onto a commercial website, which is accessible to everyone in the entire world with a computer or smartphone, I always encounter Caucasian representatives. “Let’s see now. Who should we use to represent this web page?” “Well, somebody white, preferably. I mean, who else?” I get so sick of blonde, white bitches always trying to sell me something. When this particular image is arbitrarily chosen over every other kind of person in the world, we have to look at it as being racist, white supremacy, I’m sorry. Also consider that out of those eleven aforementioned not-white examples, only two are female, and one of them, Aunt Jemima, is the old Jim Crow, dark, non-sexy, mammy figure—so there’s your sexist racism, to boot!

Although one can find them in basic black, but probably as a belated afterthought or special request, most of all dildos, inflatable dolls and other so-called “marital aids” (sex toys) are Caucasian “flesh-colored.” It’s as if white people are the only ones who employ them or presume that even all those who do use them, fantasize about or consider having sex only with other white people. But even that suggests that the racist designers of these items would prefer that their white consumers always commingle only with their own kind, even when they are fantasizing. Otherwise, they would have given us a choice of colors right off the bat.

It always used to bother me, even as a kid growing up, when I used to watch “Miss America” and the other annual beauty pageants on TV, that there were never any women-of-color competing. I didn’t know if it was because of discrimination in the industry or because no women-of-color ever competed in the contests. In the Miss Universe Pageants, for instance, which is already a misrepresentation, since the beauties from other worlds are not even represented. Where are Miss Venus, for example, Miss Hidalgo and Miss Iapetus? The contestants are touted as “the most beautiful girls in the world (!)” so the impression I got from that is that you have to be very young and very white to be considered at all beautiful. And anyway, the winners of these contests might not even be the most beautiful there are in this world. You have to be in it to win it. Maybe the most beautiful woman has never competed in any pageant.

There are over 40 countries alone that make up Africa, plus the Indian and island nations of the world, and with the 50 states from which to choose, up until just a few years ago, I don’t remember ever seeing a single dark face up there. I don’t think that it was because there were no black competitors. If the producers had wanted any, they could have recruited some. Did they think that colored people couldn’t possibly be considered beautiful? So beauty is exclusively a white thing then, and a white woman’s thing at that! It’s as if black people were not acknowledged as being attractive, at least by some white people’s standards.

My mother told me once that when she was working at Wilson Bros. clothing factory in the ’50s, she overheard one of her white co-workers say this about another employee, “You know, she’s actually rather pretty, to be colored.” So, they think they have a monopoly on attractiveness, and worth assessment, too, apparently! Armistead Maupin relates in his memoirs that his well-intentioned, southern-raised mother, in her attempt to educate her son about race relations, when Armistead once referred to someone as a “colored lady,” she corrected him gently. “No, darling, she’s a colored woman. There are no colored ladies. Only white ladies are ladies.” Oh, I see. Thank you for setting him straight.

When they finally did let black women participate for the first time, look at who they got—Vanessa Williams and Suzette Charles, both of whom are so light-skinned that from a distance they appear to be white anyway. The pageant officials can say that they have integrated the proceedings when they really haven’t. Your Miss 1990, Debbye Turner, is also a light-skinned Negress. Until they start featuring a wide variety of different skin tones, including your dark shades, nothing has changed, in my opinion.

At least ad execs are now making a conscious effort to feature ethnic variety in their casting choices. But how about when they place a black person in a certain setting, sometimes unlikely, just to be able to say, “Look, we got one!”? They go so far sometimes that it comes off as phony and contrived. I came across a travel brochure a while ago which made the choice to include an attractive Afro-American couple with small child in a tropical beach setting. My impression was that I appreciate the thought, but black folks aren’t the ones obsessed with the beach and sunbathing—y’all are! And to add to the contrivance, the models they picked were very light-skinned. Would they really be lounging on a beach in Florida? They certainly don’t need tans! I suppose it was thought that they would be more believable than a dark-skinned family doing it. You see, it’s still about color. It’s like what I said about the black Miss Americas who aren’t really “black.” Until they start implementing dark-skinned representation and more than one example in a visual image, then all it is still is tokenism.

Due to their lack of any real color, white folks have many colorful expressions that we blacks cannot relate to. Mark Twain is accredited with this racist comment when he said, “Humans are the only living species with the ability to blush, or have the need to.” What humans was he referring to, if not the few fair-skinned whities in the world? Since I can’t blush, you can’t tell when I’m embarrassed, not that I ever am anyway. Nobody has ever said to me, “Ha-ha, Cliff, is your face red!” or “I just love your rosy cheeks!” I don’t get tan lines. You’ll never see my varicose veins or my white knuckles! How could you tell if I was beaten black and blue, if I had jaundice or had eaten too many carrots? If I held my breath indefinitely, I still would never be able to turn blue. I have never been accused of looking pale. ‘My dear, I absolutely blanched when I saw her!’ and ‘Say, I’m just tickled pink!’ are things you’ll never hear me say—in seriousness, anyway.

My point in all of this is to illustrate that all those expressions and conditions which have to do with bodily color are suggestively racist, as they apply specifically to white people alone, and when any of them are used, it’s obvious to whom is being referred without saying so. The irony is that in most instances, black people and other non-Caucasian sects stay pretty much the same skin color all of their lives, while the whites are the ones who go through a myriad of shades and hues, depending on their particular situation, activities, mood, emotions, age and skin applications. So then, why are we the ones referred to as “colored people”?!

In fact, every person’s skin, including so-called white people, is some shade of something—even an albino, as white is a color, too. So in actuality, we are all colored people, which means that we all the same, as far as our humanity goes. We are just all of different colors. There is a makeup application product on the market called True Colors and utilized by Caucasian women, according to the TV ads, which offers 33 different shades, but all are some shade of brown in varying degrees, none of which are white or any variation of white.

That again points out the absurdity and pointlessness of considering some skin tones to be better than or superior to others. People don’t use a color standard with regard to their pets or plants and flowers, which are living things. They don’t consider a white dog to be better than a black or brown one, for example. A dog is just a dog. Too, a white rose is not better than a black orchid. People’s preferences lie with the kind, breed, species or variety of plants and animals they choose, not because any one color is in any way superior to another. So why should it be any different with regard to people’s varying skin tones?

But racist attitudes often transcend color. I think that it is simply a matter of Caucasian people wanting to set themselves apart from others and establish some sort of exclusivity and hierarchy. So at some point in history they declared themselves to be “white” and everyone else in the world to be “colored.“ I just wonder, though, who made the universal decision that White would and should predominate over everybody else and then brainwash so many people to go along with that notion?

A quite satirical point was made in Pleasantville (1998). For those who have not seen the film, written and directed by Gary Ross, it’s about a teenage brother and sister (played by Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon) who magically get transported to the set of a fictional, ‘50s TV sitcom of the same name via their own television set. Since the setting is before there was color, the siblings as well as everybody and everything are all in black-and-white, as they would appear on the TV screen. In the story the stunned siblings subsequently settle into their surreal surroundings by instilling a sense of free will into the other characters, who until then were all stuck within the redundant confines of the show. As each character begins to realize their true desires, they one by one change into full color. All the citizenry of Pleasantville are Caucasian—after all, this is the fifties—so when someone gains their real color, they are still white but now they’re “colored,” you see.

When there are only a few initial changelings, they are subject to discrimination and ostracism by their friends and even family members. Tobey is found on the street with a girl that has changed into color, by an as-of-yet-unchanged boy who exclaims with disdain, “Oh, there you are, with your colored girlfriend!” The people even resort to segregation when at a town meeting the unchanged whites could sit in the main level of the building, while the colored whites have to sit in the balcony with the others of their kind. This little ploy even divides married couples and relatives. Things get back to normal only when the entire town becomes full color, therefore everyone is the same again. This episode again points out the absurdity of color discrimination with humans. Maybe someday everyone in the world will get the point.

There was a grade school experiment someplace where a teacher wanted to teach her students about the irrationality of human prejudice and discrimination. So she divided her all-white class according to their eye color—blue-eyed children versus brown-eyed children. By giving the blue-eyed children positive traits—they were nicer, smarter, better-looking, etc.—and the brown-eyed students negative ones, she caused great dissension among the two groups. All the blue-eyed kids began to think that they were superior to the brown-eyed kids, merely because they were told that they were. Classmates who had been best friends were now bitter enemies, and the brown-eyes were being persecuted and ostracized by the blues.

Oprah Winfrey did a similar experiment on her show one day, unbeknownst to her guests. She divided her studio audience members according to their eye color, but she made the brown-eyed people to be better than those with blue eyes. The brown-eyed group got special, differential treatment, while the blue-eyed group were either ignored, mistreated and disrespected by Oprah’s staff. Later during the show, when the disgruntled blue-eyes began to air their complaints about how they were being treated, it began to dawn on them what was really going on. They heard things said about themselves that they had said about other people at one time or another during their life, and vice versa. I think most of them got the message.

These exercises certainly pointed out the absurdity and unfairness of holding against each other how someone is born (like eye and skin color), things that we have no normal control over. I can understand then why we have white supremacist attitudes. In the same way, white children grow up thinking that they are superior to blacks (and everybody else) because somebody along the way apparently told them that they were. Why else would they think that? Caucasian babies don’t come into the world with the inherent notion of, “I’m almighty white, therefore the best, and don’t you forget it.” Children don’t initially understand racial distinctions until they are programmed to think a certain way, by their personal associations and by society at large.

And there always has to be an underdog. I am reminded of the Cantina scene in the original Star Wars (1977), now subtitled A New Hope, when Luke Skywalker enters the bar with his robot companions, C-3PO and R2-D2, one of the bartenders yells out to them: “Hey! We don’t serve their kind here. They’re droids. They’ll have to wait outside. We don’t want them here.“ Now the joint is filled with various specimens of other-worldly creatures from all over the known universe, and they still had to pick out one, single segment of society to discriminate against. Writer/director George Lucas is making a not-too-subtle social statement.

Is there any ethnic group in the world that has not been persecuted, mistreated, victimized, suffered some form of servitude or annihilated by the Caucasian race? They don’t seem to like anybody, including themselves! They don’t even get along with others of their own kind. Check out such films as Braveheart (1995), The Patriot (2000) and The Gangs of New York (2002) to see hordes of white men fighting and killing each other. The American Civil War had white Southerners fighting with white Northerners—in some cases, friends and family members on opposite sides. Various family feuds are no different. The Hatfields and the McCoys as well as the Capulets and the Montagues were all white folks. The white Romans hated the white Christians. We have your Irish Catholics who hate the Irish Protestants. Even in this country, during the mass Irish immigration to New York in the middle 1800s, Irish people, who were mostly Catholic, were treated almost as badly as the blacks of that time and were held in the lowest esteem by their European counterparts. Now I ask you, how can you get any whiter than a native Irishman?

And let’s not forget the Jews! As far as I am concerned, Jewish people are white, too, no matter what these anti-Semites and hate groups, such as the Klan and the Nazis and the Skinheads and whoever else, think about them. And we all know how they have been treated by other whites. This is one of the placards displayed at a Nazi rally: “Hitler was God.” They have said that the only mistake that Hitler made was that he didn’t finish the job of wiping out all the Jews. How can anyone support such hateful rhetoric? They complain that the Jews own all the big corporations and the media—the movie studios, the TV stations, the newspapers, the publishing companies. Well, so what? Somebody has to do those jobs. Why not the Jews? Nobody gave them anything. They have to work for everything that they have. Don’t begrudge them or resent them for being ambitious and enterprising. Get up off your lazy butts and start your own business!

So then, in order to alleviate their guilt, I suppose, and not accept any responsibility whatsoever, these postwar Nazi sympathizers have tried to convince the world that the Holocaust never happened. The Jews made it all up to gain special attention or something. Then tell me, where are all those 10 million missing people? They must have all evacuated Europe voluntarily and are still hiding out in uncharted Antarctica, perhaps? But why did they leave the surviving members of their families behind? Well, at least most of them got to take a nice shower before they left. I mean, denial is one thing, but idiotic denial is another. A sick joke of the day might have been: “Did you hear about the new German gas oven? … It seats twenty.”

But then, the Jews, too, have had ongoing conflicts with other Semitic sects just like themselves. At one time it was the Philistines, now it’s the Palestinians. Even Polish people (and again, you can’t get much whiter than that) for a long time have been the butt of cruel, demeaning jokes, created by other whites. It even became a fad movement in the sixties. Examples: Why does a Polock carry a turd in his back pocket? … For identification. What does NAACP stand for? … Negroes Are Actually Colored Polocks. That’s right, insult both of us when you can, why don’t you?! But even that’s not as bad as what former Mississippi governor Paul Johnson publicly said the letters stood for: “Niggers, Apes, Alligators, Coons and Possums.” Then later, the Stupid Polock jokes were replaced with Dumb Blonde jokes, which all exemplify the naïve stupidity of blonde-haired white women, whom at other times have been socially revered. So you see, hardly anyone is exempt from Caucasian defamation.

A particularly provocative period in history when panicky, white people practiced paranoid persecution against other whites (and women at that) was during the Salem, Massachusetts witch hunts in 1692. Innocent women, girls and some men, too, without any proof whatsoever, were accused of being witches and sentenced to death. But even if any of those victims had been real witches, so what? They didn’t deserve to be executed. Witchcraft is a personal belief or religion. It’s been the same thing with other religious chauvinism over the centuries. Whoever does not follow the predominate faith of the region is deemed a heretic and must be put to death? What’s up with that? And these folks were Puritans, people who considered themselves fundamentalist Christians. Yet they indiscriminately murdered their friends and neighbors on no real evidence of any wrongdoing on the accused part. So they were no more than a modern day, vigilante lynch mob. How pecksniffian is that? (There’s a word for you.)

The German Nazis employed a similar campaign during WWII while they were rounding up members of various ethnic and social groups for encampment. It was especially problematic for the male homosexuals or those perceived to be thus. An innocent embrace or mere touch between two men, even a furtive glance was construed to be deviant behavior. Even if someone is not guilty of something, it is next to impossible to expunge an accusation.

Another notable time was 1951 when they began a campaign to ferret out all the American Communists, especially targeting the Hollywood film industry and blacklisting innocent people for no apparent reason. In actuality though, the objection to Communism was merely a convenient smokescreen for anti-Semitism and people of color. There was a manifesto published which spelled out the reasons why we all should be against Communism. Some of the claims made: “The Communists have existed for thousands of years, they are non-Christian, in fact, they persecuted and killed Jesus; they have taken over American art and culture by infiltrating the Hollywood industry and the entertainment media.” Excuse me? Are they talking about Communism or Judaism here? That would explain why most of the artists, writers and performers who were blacklisted were of the Jewish persuasion, or friends of Jews. People could exercise and justify their anti-Jew attitudes all in the name of anti-Communism.

Many black entertainers, too, were put on the “black”-list. Anyone who spoke out against racism or attempted to further the cause of civil rights for their people were deemed to be Communists, as if they needed an excuse. Besides Paul Robeson, other black entertainers put on the list were, Harry Belafonte, Lena Horne, actors Canada Lee, Rosetta LeNoire, Frederick O’Neal and jazz pianist Hazel Scott, who was married to Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr. at the time. My friend and colleague, Bob DeCormier, who was neither black nor Jewish, was also on the list, probably because of his close association with Belafonte at the time. The politics-minded blacks and supportive whites, too, actually did get involved with the Communists, Socialists and other radical groups, because they were the only ones who were doing anything about segregation and other racist practices.

To accuse someone of being a Commie, they didn’t need any proof, only circumstantial evidence, and not even that most of the time. It was the same tactic that is used for crime suspects. Just pick somebody, anybody, and build your case against them. Just as it was in Salem, it became the convenient, perfect means for people to take revenge on their enemies and get rid of people they didn’t like. One actor doesn’t like another one, so he gives the guy’s name to the Committee, who then grills the second guy into providing other names for their cause until almost everybody is under suspicion.

Some would be offered a deal where they would be let off the hook if they gave up somebody else in their place. Director Elia Kazan, for one, did it to save his own ass. Friends of a person-of-interest give him a birthday party. So everyone who attends the party, as well as everybody whom he knows, must be a fellow Commie, right? You know, guilt by association. Who would willingly hang out with a known Commie unless they were one themself? It got to be where almost nobody was exempt. Alibis were useless because nobody was being accused of doing something at one particular time, only of being affiliated with an unfavorable political party. How can you defend your own beliefs and why should you even have to?

At the end of The Front (1976) when Woody Allen was being grilled by the Subcommittee to admit his own Communist involvement, he told them all to fuck themselves and walked out of the room! That’s what they all should have done, instead of giving in to those bullying assholes. Unfortunately, that little tactic did not work for everyone. Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo had to serve some prison time for not cooperating with the Committee. The charge was “contempt of Congress.”

In 1953, when his own patriotic loyalties were called into question, playwright Arthur Miller rose to the occasion brilliantly with his analogous play The Crucible, about the Salem witch trials, which is a direct parallel to this other infamous period of American history. Even if McCarthy and his Committee didn’t actually put anyone to death, they did aim to destroy those people’s careers and squelch their livelihoods. What a harsh and unfair punishment to impose on innocent people where they are not allowed to work. So what if someone is a Communist? How is that anybody else’s business? Are they going to go after the Democrats next? The Libertarians? The Shriners? Why aren’t these same political chauvinists as gung-ho about exposing the American Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan, for example? Those people commit actual crimes.

Communism as a mere philosophy doesn’t condone hate or harm anybody. In fact, the American Communist agenda is supportive of all of the positive ideals of our society, like social equality, and are against discrimination, racism, sexism, homophobia, unemployment and war. It was the Communist Party that provided the defense for the Scottsboro Boys, for example. They are not trying to overthrow our Government, of which they are often accused. On the contrary, they just want to make the U.S. a better place to live. Can we say the same for those radical Republicans, for one, or their cohorts, the Tea Party members, who perpetuate war and are constantly infringing upon our civil rights?

Maybe their vehement objection to Communism is that they don’t want things to change for the better in this country. That’s why the negative social issues have not been eradicated. They don’t want social equality with regard to civil rights and economic class distinction. You will recall that the Abolitionists were regarded in exactly the same way when they spoke out against slavery in this country. So you might even deem me to be a Communist sympathizer. Well, maybe I am. But, so what? Who am I hurting?

So you see, white people always have to have somebody to put down, preferably, someone different than themselves, but not necessarily. They are just as content turning against others just like themselves, and they can always find something to get on each other about. In fact, and this applies not only to whites, in places where all the people are ethnically the same, they will use social class distinction and/or financial status to distinguish themselves. The nobility does not associate with peasants and the “common people,” for example, and your other people of wealth and position tend to look down on their servants and hired help. In Afghanistan it’s men against the women.

Even People-of-Color have been known to create factions based on their own skin tones (lighter versus darker) and the quality of their hair (straight = good, nappy = bad). The Negroes in my family and community were of all shades, and it never occurred to me to base anyone’s worth or likability on their particular skin tone. I truly have no color prejudices. I regard darker-skinned individuals the same as I do the lighter-skinned ones, but that apparently is not the case with others of the Negroid race. Dark-skinned blacks are made to feel inferior to light-skinned blacks. They are less attractive, less smart and less trustworthy and treated with less respect by some, for example.

Some situations utilized the “paper bag test,” where a casting director, for instance, would take a brown paper bag and put it up next to the face of the person who is auditioning for a show, and if they were darker than the bag, they usually would be rejected. Blues singer Bessie Smith lost a job that way, so when she later was putting together her own show and was auditioning people, she took the other tactic and required that they needed to be darker than the bag to be hired! She didn’t want any “high-yellah bitches” in her show!

So maybe you share my wonderment and confusion about the ongoing animosity between the Tutsis and the Hutu tribes of Africa. These peoples are basically the same in color and appearance–they speak the same language, come from the same place and are of the same religion. But one tribe, it might have been the Hutu, got it into their heads one day that they were somehow better than the Tutsi. When the Hutu President of Rwanda was assassinated in April 1994, the Tutsis were blamed for it, although it has never been established that they had anything to do with it. But thus began a retaliation tactic by the Hutu militia forces, when they proceeded to massacre up to a million Tutsi citizens. So then, of course, the Tutsis had to fight back, and on and on it goes. I don’t know how they can tell each other apart, however–although the Tutsi may be generally taller in stature, but everyone is not the same height anyway–just as I don’t know how the warring Irish Catholics and Protestants discern one another. Check out my relating of Dr. Seuss’ story of The Sneeches in my Public Scrutiny and Self-Awareness blog for another instance of senseless discrimination.

What I find curious is that many whites don’t seem to be satisfied with their natural skin color. Why else would they spend much of their waking hours, especially in warmer climes, subjecting themselves to the blazing, radiant, carcinogenic sun, trying to darken their skins? In addition to that, they use sunlamps and spend billions of dollars every year on tanning products. You all seem to be suffering from “tanorexia pigmentosa.” I believe that’s why white folks age so much faster than we do. It’s that sun drying and wrinkling them up like that. Melanin (the pigment that makes black folks the colors we are) is good for the complexion. It counteracts much of those ultraviolet rays that are so bad for your skin. They now know about the bad effects of prolonged exposure to the sun, but would rather risk melanoma and other skin cancers for the sake of that much-desired tan.

So instead of giving it up or at least cutting down, they have come up with all these new sun-blockers and skin protection remedies. There is a TV commercial, apparently directed towards white people, which implores them to “Use Bain de Soleil (sunscreen) to protect your beautiful skin.” The sun has been there all the time; they never needed protection before. And if their skin is so beautiful, why do they need to change the color of it and apply all kinds of emollients to it all the time?

There are even products on the market now that allow you to give yourself a tan indoors without the use of the sun. Endless Summer is a cream that contains a coloring agent, and there is one that you merely spray on your skin to darken it. Well, now! I thought that to be white was something that we all are supposed to aspire to. So why are you always trying to be darker than you are? It’s even a contest with some of you. “Look, Cliff, I’m almost as dark as you!” they will proudly announce to me. ‘Well, I’m so glad for you, Girlfriend. You keep right on trying, you hear?’

I don’t blame them, though, for being envious of our colors. Who wants to be colorless white? Apparently, you Caucasians don’t want to be, judging from your constant preoccupation with tanning, What is the Ideal Man for the majority of white women? “Tall, dark and handsome,” they request. Why not very pale instead of dark?

One example of thoughtless, clueless racism was when actor Caroline Rhea was on Rosie O’Donnell’s show one day endorsing some sunscreen products, and she said, without thinking, “It’s Memorial Day now, and everybody is going to be out getting a tan.” I immediately thought, Everybody? Who is everybody? Rhea’s comment was racist in the fact that she was referring only to the few pale whities like herself and disregarding all the many millions of people in the world who have no interest whatsoever in getting a tan or need one. Don’t include everybody in your own personal activities and attitudes. Speak for yourself. “It’s Memorial Day now, and I, for one, with my pale, white ass, will be out trying to get a tan.”

Here is an example of Caucasian hypocrisy with their current attitude of political correctness and feigned sensitivity toward our people when one of them dares to wear dark makeup in public in their attempt to impersonate a famous black person. Actor Ted Danson did it once on a date with Whoopi Goldberg and received a lot of flak for it. Billy Crystal was criticized when he did his Sammy Davis Jr. imitation in so-called “blackface” during an Academy Awards telecast. Even a white grade-school student was given the business when he chose to honor his idol Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a school play with dark makeup on his face. But it’s the whites who make all the fuss about it. We blacks, at least not I, are not offended by it. Those individuals didn’t do what they did with any malicious intent. They are only actors playing a part. The protesters are trying to link that gesture with the minstrel show conventions of long ago. That was a whole different thing, as what they did back then was totally unnecessary and carried with it a certain degree of ridicule, disrespect and exploitation. The people they depicted were generic and non-specific, a symbol rather than a real impersonation. Also, the makeup used nowadays is only shades of brown, not at all comparable to the actual black-colored makeup of the past. So it’s all right for whites to darken their faces via natural tanning or even artificial means when it’s for their own personal reasons, but they shouldn’t do it to play a character as part of their work or tribute to a specific person. Such hypocrisy! You bleeding-heart liberals need to lighten up, if you’ll pardon the expression.

The objection should be when a Caucasian actor is hired to portray an ethnicity other than their own, when there are always actors who could play the part authentically. The argument on the other side of the coin, from the whites’ perspective, is that actors should be allowed to play any character, regardless of their ethnic makeup or special qualities. That’s true, ideally, but the fact of the matter is, there are far more parts available to whites than anything else, and they can always find work, whereas parts written specifically for non-whites are not as abundant. Allow only black actors to portray Othello, for example, which they, in fact, have done as of late. Both Orson Welles and Laurence Olivier looked like white men in blackface, when they played the character back in 1952 and 1965, respectively. If the character is of mixed race, get an actor of the same mix to play them. There are several to choose from: Halle Berry, Giancarlo Esposito, Jasmine Guy, Boris Kodjoe, Lenny Kravitz, Lonette McKee, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Maya Rudolph, Roger Guenveur Smith, Jesse Williams, to name a few. Or let Jackie Chan play Charlie Chan.

During a Southern wartime (WWII) blood drive, a black woman offered to give her blood for the cause and was told by the white volunteers there that they did not accept “colored blood.” Now, how ignorant can one be, thinking that human blood somehow functions differently in people of varying skin tones? It’s all the same. By looking at it, who can tell one person’s blood from another’s? If the blood vials are labeled with only the blood type, who is going to know from whom it came? The woman then informed the volunteer that her son was a soldier fighting for this country and asked, “If my son gets hurt, what kind of blood are you going to give him?“ (If any?)

What has further confused me about certain white people’s twisted mentality concerning color matters, after watching dramas about race-passing (Imitation of Life, Pinky, Show Boat,), is the realization that racist attitudes are not even really about color. In those cases and also in real-life situations, a person can be as white as can be, but the knowledge of that person having just one drop of so-called “Negro blood” in their body makes them a full-fledged black person and therefore shall be regarded accordingly. Who decided that a basic thing as blood should be the determining factor of human hierarchy? I mean, who came up with such an absurd notion, and why did anybody in their right mind go along with it? It’s theoretical rather than factual, anyway. With blood flowing out of and throughout one’s body continuously, how can that all-so-important single drop be isolated, identified or even retained indefinitely? I mean, how stupid is that?! But these whites are the ones with the superior intellect, right?

The truth of the matter is, a person’s so-called race is determined by their genes, which is the result of ovum and sperm fusion, not by blood. If those whites were so smart, they would know that. Then, too, family relations are determined by their common genes, not by blood. He is not my “blood relative“ but my genetic relative. Blood in itself does not determine racial distinction, no more than any of our other internal organs and functions do. Blacks are discriminated against mostly because of their color, supposedly. So if I appear, on the surface, to be white, then what is your problem with me? It apparently goes beyond color, as with the persecuted Jews and other Caucasian sects. It’s simply just another way for certain whites to exercise control on somebody.

[Related articles: Black History, Pts. 1-5; Some Racial Observations and Assessments; Stereotyping and Profiling, Racial and Otherwise; Walt Disney, a Racist?…]

Oh, God, You Devil!

Even though I grew up attending a Baptist church on a weekly basis for years, since I was about 20, I don’t consider myself a member of any organized religion. I still attend church services on a regular basis (in various denominations), but only to sing in the choir or act as solo cantor. It’s a job and nothing else. I always tell people, ‘You have to pay me to go to church!’ And I’ll go anywhere that they are paying, too; I don’t discriminate. I like the musical aspect of church services (I love to sing hymns, for example), but I am less-than-enthusiastic about the liturgical parts. The same tedious rituals week after week, and especially the sermons and scripture readings, are a crashing bore to me, although I do find a lot in them with which to take issue.

Most sermons and homilies that I have had to sit through seem irrelevant and pointless to me. I’m sitting there thinking, They are just talking bullshit! What does that have to do with helping us to become better people? Why doesn’t anyone ever talk to the congregation about confronting their racism, sexism and homophobia? Fix those things in our lives, and I think that the rest of it—that is, humanity, Godliness and Christianity—just may take care of themselves. But I suppose you can’t address what you don’t acknowledge. There are conflicting views about human morality, for one thing. A preacher is not going to lecture his congregation about those points if he believes that it is okay to discriminate against his fellow humans, objectify women and hate queers.

The thing about organized religions is that they tend to control and bully their followers into believing what they are told and not to think for yourself. If you are a Catholic, you have to be against abortion and birth control. Well, maybe I don’t want to be married and have a whole bunch of kids! It’s the same reason why I don’t affiliate myself with a political party. In order to be a Democrat, I have to believe and agree with their platform. Everything they do is right, and the Republicans have it all wrong. Then the Republicans say the same thing about the Democrats. I can find fault with both parties. I choose not to pigeonhole myself like that. I need to think for myself.

I have found from working at various churches that the tenet lines between the Protestant religions, especially, are somewhat blurred, as there are more similarities than there are differences. They all regard God and Jesus the same, they use the same Bible and Scripture readings, they sing the same hymns, and their service liturgies follow the same basic pattern. As with any group, differences of opinion occur between individuals, and just because they all attend the same church, they don’t have to agree on everything that is done or said there. I think that most people regard attending church as a social thing. One does not have to go to a house of worship to be religious. You can pray and give your reverence to God anywhere.

Now, just because I have no interest in matters ecclesiastical, does not mean that I am not a spiritual person and don’t believe in a higher power. I am not an atheist, but consider myself more of a heretic, heathen or pagan even and quasi-agnostic, since I don’t know for sure. In fact, nobody does. I have many theological questions and I don’t just accept everything on blind faith. Heresy is not a bad thing, by the way.  A heretic, for your information, is a person who chooses to think for themself rather than follow someone else’s arbitrarily-established opinion about something.  So, what’s wrong with that?  I used to know a guy who was a dyslexic, agnostic insomniac.  He would stay awake all night sometimes, wondering if there is a Dog. (::rim shot::)

If anyone should ask me the question, “Do you believe in God?” I ask them how much time they have, because the answer requires more than a simple yes or no.  I don’t doubt the existence of God, per se; there must be such a thing.  It has a referential name, therefore It must exist.  So a better question would be, “What do you think God is?” or “What is your personal perception of God?”  Now we can talk.  I take a more scientific approach to religion and God.

For centuries there has been a conflict between religion and modern science.  There is an ongoing controversy between the Biblical account of the Creation of the World versus Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, for example.  Many still contend that you have to believe in either one or the other, that the two schools of thought are mutually exclusive.  They don’t have to be, though.  Instead of taking one side over the other, I will attempt to explain and redefine the situation, which I hope will satisfy both camps.

First of all, the mere fact that everyone does not agree on a common explanation of God, indicates that it’s all based on human theories, and is why there are so many different religions and beliefs, because people all have their own ideas on the subject, including myself.  It’s all conjecture. Also realize that monotheism, the belief in only one omnipotent God, has not always been the way of the world.  The early Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Norse and Babylonians worshiped many gods, often in the form of graven images.

Another school of thought is that it was Abraham who invented God.  It was he who made all the laws and decisions for his people, claiming that they all were relayed to him personally by God.  So, in essence, Abraham was playing God, and the people were all too willing and compliant to go along with whatever he told them to do.  His later descendants and Gentiles even referred to It as “the God of Abraham.”

So now I will give you my own theory about God.  Why can’t the physical sciences be the explanation of God?  For me, God is simply the collective energy forces that govern the Universe.  God is in everything, and everything is God, including you and me and everybody.  Apparently, this is not my thinking alone.  I recently learned that there are others that follow that same philosophy.  They even have a name for it: pantheism, meaning, God is all. So I guess I am a pantheist then.

I will go so far to say that there are really no real atheists.  How can anyone deny the existence of God when It is evident all around us?  Is there anyone that denies the concept of nature?  We comment on the wonders of nature and on the “natural order of things.“  Well, Mother Nature is just another name for God.  The miracle of childbirth and our mere existence is an evidence of God.  World phenomena don’t just happen automatically.

Now there are people, like myself, who don’t buy the notion of some supernatural Man or Gnostic Being up in the sky who looks down on us and with whom we can converse and from whom we can ask favors, and whom we were taught by our parents and clergy to fear and praise and obey.  But just because you don’t believe in That Guy, does not make you an atheist, because that’s not really God, at least in my opinion.  That’s just somebody that Man made up for our benefit, like the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny. If we just accept the fact that God is the Virtual Everything, then there is nothing to doubt or to wonder about.  So when someone tells me that they don’t believe in God, I ask them, ‘How do you explain your own existence then?  Did you just happen all by yourself?’

I am not being blasphemous when I say that I am God.  I am only stating a fact. We all are God.  If you believe that we all are created by God, then we all must be imbued with the essence of God.  God is what sustains us and what makes our bodies grow and function the way they do.  That is God digesting our food and keeping our hearts beating and our blood flowing. So someone who claims that they don’t believe in God is denying life itself, including their own.  Whenever we tamper with Nature and upset the natural order of things, we are playing God, or rather, defying God, in a sense.  Whenever anyone kills any living thing or even saves the life of anyone who would be doomed otherwise, they are interfering with God’s Will.

A physician’s very profession is to defy God.  God gave this person that fatal ailment, and the doctors then go against God’s way by attempting to keep the patient alive.  What gives them or us the right to decide for ourselves who is to live or die?  I don’t mean to say that it is not a good thing to try to save and prolong lives when we’re able to.  I am all for medical assistance when needed, but we still should own up to the fact that we are interfering with one’s destiny when we do so.  Just be willing to admit it and don’t be all self-righteous and pharisaical about it.

Incidentally, my God does not have gender.  God is an energy force, not a person, and certainly not a man.  That’s why I choose to use neuter pronouns in my references to God, except when It‘s a dramatic character reference.  So I don’t go along with the Trinity concept of “God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost,” but rather simply, the “Unity”: God the Spirit.  Along with that, I will say that the words “holy” and “sacred” have no validity to me.  A certain degree of reverence or value judgment is arbitrarily placed on anything having to do with God and organized religion.  But to me, nothing is sacred.  So I don’t believe in blasphemy and sacrilege, as God, to me, is completely a secular entity.

The Book of Genesis presents the theomorphic notion that “God created Man in ‘His’ (meaning God’s) own image.”  (Purported atheist Mike Stivic of “All in the Family” asked his father-in-law Archie Bunker one day, “You mean to say that God looks like you?!”)  But I happen to think that it’s the other way around.  We (that is, Man) have created God in our own image, just as the gnostic beings anywhere else in the Universe most likely created their God (if they, in fact, acknowledge one) in their particular image, which would be totally different from our concept.

Man seems to have a need to personify everything (to wit—Mother Earth, Mother Nature, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Father Time, Jack Frost, Ol’ Man River, etc.), and it’s Man who refers to God in the masculine gender—“the Almighty Heavenly Father” and other male, patriarchal epithets.  There is also a human need to have a visual image of everything.  That’s the reason for religious icons, statues and paintings—to remind us of who and to what we are paying reverence.

But the question then arises, how shall God be depicted?  And this arbitrary decision is, of course, at the very heart of sexism and racism.  White men naturally always depict God as an old, white man.  (It wasn’t my idea.) Anything else would be refuting their imagined superiority.  It has to be someone that they can look up to, respect, revere and worship—therefore, an older white man.  It can’t be a woman.  They have no power here.  And it can’t be a person-of-color either.  How could they worship and adore someone beneath them, someone for whom they have utter contempt and disrespect?  No, it has to be a white man, someone exactly like themselves. You see then, by doing that they are equating themselves with the Almighty, in essence, putting themselves on the same personal level with God.

That is the reason that deists give God all our own human characteristics, to make God to be more like themselves.   When they talk about God’s likes and dislikes, they are merely expressing their own feelings and opinions. This is why Jesus, too, is most often given artistic representation with Aryan features, because if his “Father” and mother are white, then he has to be too, right?  Just as I contend that nothing in Christianity is original, that common depiction of God as an old, white man with the white, flowing beard is not just anybody.  It’s the same way that the Greeks’ head god, Zeus, is commonly depicted.  So they didn’t create a new God image but only borrowed an already-existing one.

There is an old joke about a man who dies, goes to Heaven, meets God, but has the opportunity to come back to life and earth to report on his experience.  So of course, everybody wants to know what God looks like and all.  “Please, tell us, Sir, what does God look like?”  The man replies, “Well, first of all, She’s black.”  Whenever this is told, of course everyone laughs at the accepted absurdity of it all.  But if that punchline had been a pre-ordained notion, then it wouldn’t be a joke.

Why couldn’t God be manifested for all time as a black woman?  I don’t see anything wrong with that.  Believers expect God to be their Parent Figure, Guardian, Defender and Protector.  But in real life it’s almost always the mother who looks after the family, nurtures, feeds and takes care of them. The traditional Man is merely the breadwinner.  He is not always around when you need him.  So why are you praying to some Man to comfort you and watch over you, when it’s most likely a Woman who is the one doing the comforting and caregiving for you?  In general, I hold black women in as high regard as I do white men—maybe more, since my own mother was a black woman.  This idea apparently did not escape the writers of the TV series “Joan of Arcadia,” in which more than one of the various guises that “God” appeared to the title character, was indeed a black woman!

At least the Christian Scientists are not guilty of this destiny-tampering, as they do renounce doctors and medications in the time of physical maladies and instead, leave their fate in the “hands of God” by resorting to prayer to save their lives.  They believe that if they are meant to live, they will, but if their time on earth is up, they have learned to accept that, too, and that medical intervention will not make any difference one way or the other.

But then, we could also look upon praying as going against God’s Plan. When people pray, they are usually asking for something personal or wanting to change something that is to be.  “Please, God, I really need this job.”  “Oh, please, God, don’t let me die! I’m not ready. “Some people pray for guidance and assistance.  “Lord, help me to be a better person and more loving to my neighbors.”  “Lord, help those poor people in need.”  I think that’s all up to you.  Why don’t you help those poor people in need?  What do you expect God to do about it?  If God was on the case, they wouldn’t be in need, would they?  If you want to be a better person, then be it!  So if you choose to continue being an asshole, don’t blame God for not answering your request.  People make deals.  “Lord, if you let me pass this test, I’ll start going to church!”  “Oh, God, please help us to win this game!”  But if both teams are praying for the same thing, whose plea is God supposed to honor over the other?  It creates a conflict of interest.

Some even make non-requested, personal promises to God, and then think that if they break the promise, God will punish them in some way.  First of all, God did not ask you to promise It anything; you volunteered that on your own.  So God is not going to hold you to it, if you should happen to renege on it.  The promise you broke was to yourself.  God doesn’t give a shit.  I recently heard a news report that the current Pope made a promise to the “Virgin Mary” that he would give up TV and the internet for some period of time.  Now, what is she going to do if he breaks his promise–send him to his room without his supper?!  How inane is that?

The weekly Episcopal services at the church where I worked includes Prayers for the People, where a parishioner prays aloud to the congregation and mentions just about everybody in the world for succor, blessing and forgiveness.  One part goes, “We pray for those seeking God.”  Why would anyone need to seek God?  Just look around.  God is everywhere and in everything.  If you want to find God, just look inside yourself.  And what is the point of praying for people who have died?  They’re gone.  There’s nothing we can do about that.  It’s out of our hands now.  Oh, they’re praying for their souls, you say?  Well, a dead person’s soul is not your business either.  What’s done is done.  Don’t even be concerned about the souls of those who are still alive, for that matter.  Worry about your own soul.

In the 2003 satirical film Bruce Almighty Jim Carrey is given the opportunity to be God for a short period of time.  He had been bitching to the real “God” that He was not complying to his wishes when he called upon Him.  So God, played by Morgan Freeman (don’t I love that!), appeared to Bruce and said, “Do you think that you can do a better job at being Me?  Let’s see how you do.”  Well, Bruce does enjoy at first his newfound power, being able to make everything go his way, though only doing things that benefit himself.  But he didn’t consider the responsibility that he was taking on, that is, running the entire world and in particular, the answering of prayers.  When he starts hearing all those simultaneous voices of people asking him for stuff, he becomes so overwhelmed he doesn’t even deal with it.  He soon comes to realize that being God isn’t all that easy.  After all, he has his own mortal life to worry about, who has time to listen to or help all the needy people in the world?

So then Bruce creates his own e-mail Prayer website to which all prayers would be directed.  He can do that.  He’s God, remember.  When several millions of hits come in right away, he refuses to read any of them.  He simply sends a general “Yes!” to every piece of mail.  The next day he hears on the news that thousands of people have won the local lottery for that day, which causes rioting and unrest among the masses.  Hmm, I think it would behoove him to examine each and every request.  So Bruce learns his lesson, and this experiment taught him not to be so critical in the future. And instead of always waiting for a miracle to occur, he learns that we all have the power to create our own miracles.  Don’t expect somebody else, especially God, to come to a person’s aid.  Why don’t you help them yourself, if you have the means?

I don’t see the point or purpose of praying to God because if It is supposed to be All-Knowing and is aware of all of our thoughts and wishes, there is no need to tell It what we want.  Do you think that God “sits” idly by, watching Its people in trouble and will intervene only if someone asks for help?  If God is the Head Guy running things, It will do what It will anyway. How dare we tell God what to do and ask for special favors!  I have more to say about “Deistical Favoritism” in my blog entitled, For the Bible Tells Me So.

So when you pray aloud, do you think that you are the only one?  There are probably millions of others praying at the same time.  I mean, God may be Almighty and All That, but I don’t think It’s that good, to discern everybody‘s supplications simultaneously.  So why even bother?  Haven’t these people come to the realization that nobody is listening and that they are only praying to themselves?  I believe that it is up to us to answer our own prayers, having enough faith and believing in ourselves so strongly as to make our wishes come true.  It was Oscar Wilde who once said, “When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.”  So always be careful of what you wish for, because you just may get it.

The same goes for confessing one’s sins.  If a person admits out loud the bad things that they have done, they believe that God will forgive them.  But aren’t they really making the effort to forgive themself by admitting the wrongs they have done?  But just like making those promises to God that I just spoke of, it’s not God who is absolving you of anything, especially when you probably keep doing the same thing over and over.  It’s good that you have the sense of remorse, but it’s you who has to forgive yourself. Otherwise, again, why bother?

People should stop making God responsible for their own actions.  We either blame God for something we did ourselves or we give God the credit for something we did ourselves.  God is merely the means for us to function in the way we do.  “It’s God’s will … God’ll get you for that … If there is a God, how can ‘He’ allow all the suffering in the world?”  Because God doesn’t care! Don’t blame God for the world’s suffering.  We bring all that on ourselves.  It’s we who are responsible for human mistreatment, injustice and our apathetic attitudes, not God.  During church prayers the clergy are always asking God to free the world from poverty and national conflicts.  Again, we are the ones who cause world poverty and the inability to get along with each other.  How is God suppose to remedy that?  It’s up to ourselves to right all the wrongs in the world.

God created us, and then Its job is finished.  What we do with our lives is up to us.  God has given us the privilege of free will to make our own decisions, and that is the one thing It doesn’t have any control over, our individual free will.  If we didn’t have that, life would have no meaning or purpose.  We would have no reason to think for ourselves, because every aspect of our life would be decided for us.  What would be the point of living? Interestingly, that is the one restriction that Morgan/”God” puts on Bruce in the movie, that he will not be able to tamper with anyone’s free will.

So with this free will concession, we have to take responsibility for the choices we make in life.  Don’t expect God to tell you what to do all the time. When some crazed gunman goes into a classroom and blows everybody away, don’t blame God for allowing all those innocent people to die.  Blame the person who did the actual killing.  God didn’t give him the gun or try to save the victims by preventing the gun from firing.  Then, too, our life’s accomplishments are our own, albeit with God’s help.  God gives us the tools, the talent, skills and ambition, but it’s up to us to do something with those gifts.

Many performers, upon receiving Academy Awards and others, will thank God for giving it to them.  God doesn’t hand out trophies.  We have to earn them.  I don’t have an Oscar because I haven’t done what is required to get one.  But if I ever do win one, it will be because I worked for it, not because God thought it was time for me to receive one.  You can pray to God until you’re blue in the face, but until you get up off your lazy butt and make some personal effort, it never will happen.

So I do believe in “God helps those who help themselves.”  You may have heard the oft-related story of the pious man who receives a news report that the dam near his hometown is about to break, which will flood the whole town and everyone should evacuate immediately.  The man decides, “I am a religious man.  If I pray to God really hard, He will save me from this disaster.”  So when the flood does come, the man retreats to the roof of his house to avoid being swept away by the deepening water.  A neighbor comes by in a rowboat.  He says to the man on the roof, “Come down, friend, and get into this boat, and I will take us to safety.”  “Oh, no,” the man replies.  “I am a religious man and I have prayed to God to rescue me.  But thanks, anyway.”  Pretty soon a helicopter hovers near and offers to get the guy off the roof.  Again he rejects them, telling them that he has prayed and is waiting for God to save him.  Well, the flood waters eventually covers the man’s house and he drowns.

So now he’s just arrived at Heaven’s Gate and he tells St. Peter, “I would like an audience with God, if you please.  There is something I need to ask Him.” When his request is granted, the man says to God, “I am one of your most faithful believers.  I prayed and prayed that you would save me from the flood.  So I don’t understand, Lord. Why did you abandon me and let me drown?”  God replied, “Man, what are you talking about?  I gave you prior warning about the flood, I sent you a rescue rowboat and a helicopter. What were you waiting for, a personal appearance?!”  Some people don’t seem to realize when their prayers are being answered.  They tend to ignore the very signs of help that are staring them right in the face.

Even though I do it myself on occasion, like when I receive a much-needed paycheck after a dearth of work, I don’t think that it is necessary to thank God for our good fortunes either.  Courtesy, respect, gratitude and sense of appreciation are all human characteristics, and Pride is one of the Deadly Sins.  How dare we accuse God of having false Pride.  Do you honestly think that God is that insecure, egoistical or vainglorious that It needs to be constantly thanked, praised and exalted for all Its goodness?  Why would It even care how we feel?  God just is and does what It does.  Our gratitude and reassurance may influence the world in positive ways, but not because God needs to “hear” it from our mouths.  “Well, after all I’ve done for those people, they can’t even say ‘thank you’?  I should stop doing anything for those ingrates.“  Talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words.  One can show their gratitude by their good deeds rather than by prayer and worthless Godly praise. In other words, pay it forward.

There are certain people who take it upon themselves to be messengers, employees and even colleagues of God.  They go about the land doing “God’s Work,” which I find to be a suspicious and sometimes frightening concept, because they can make that to be anything they want.  They kill people in the Name of God and say that God told them to do it, because certain people should not be allowed to live.  Well, that’s not your job!  If God didn’t want those people to be here, they wouldn’t be.  One can always justify their actions by saying that they were only carrying out God’s Wishes, therefore anything they do must be all right.  The Catholic Church even has a worldwide organization that they call Opus Dei, which means God’s Work in Latin and which I discuss in my blog, A Critique of Catholicism.  That is so arrogant.  God doesn’t need you to do Its work.  It can manage quite well without your help.  Do your own work, why don‘t you?!

Another thing that I don’t take any stock in is the concept “The Word of God.”  What is that?!  God does not speak.  It’s humans who speak, and it’s these anthropomorphic theomaniacs who accredit their own thoughts, words and deeds to God.  I automatically turn off when someone starts a sentence with, “Well, God says…” or “God don’t like…”  How do you know what God don’t like?  If God made it, then It must like it.  Anyhow, nobody is an authority on or official spokesperson for God, not even these self-appointed clergymen, evangelists and prophets.  I can’t be concerned about what God allegedly said to anybody else or what God doesn’t like.  Maybe God “told” me something different than what It “told” you.

It’s a matter of interpretation anyway.  If you tell me that God is Love and that we are all God’s Children and that we should love our Neighbors and that thou shalt not kill, then don’t tell me in the next breath that God hates homosexuals and that we all should be put to death.  That’s a contradiction. Anyway, if God hates queers, as some people insist, then why did God make, has always made, and continues to make, so many of us?  So don’t be mad at us!  Take your gripes to God, Which put all of us here in the first place.  It must be these people who hate us and are again attributing their own hatred to God.

Do not presume to think for God and make decisions for It.  I have a sense of morality and ethic principles, and although some of my morals may differ from someone else’s, I do know right from wrong.  I think that I am more lenient and tolerant when it comes to certain accepted ideas of morality than others might be.  As long as people don’t inflict harm on others, I think that it’s okay to do some things that might be deemed immoral or unethical by someone else.  Judge not lest ye be judged.  I believe in “love thy fellow man” (I certainly do that!) and that we are our brother’s keeper.  I think that we should look out for each other, if it is within our means.

What is our conscience if not God “speaking” to us directly, guiding us to make certain decisions in our lives?  But consider for a moment that some of it might be Old Satan trying to advise us, too.  People are constantly committing heinous deeds against each other, with the excuse that they are obeying instructions from God.  Why, for example, would God tell somebody to go out and commit mass murder in Its name?  But then the claim used by some that “the Devil made me do it” does not hold up with me either.  If we all accept that excuse, people would use it as a trial defense.  No one could be convicted of any crime.  “It wasn’t me, Your Honor.  The Devil took hold of me and I didn’t have any choice or control.” “Oh, well, then.  Case dismissed!“  No one would be held responsible for their bad actions.  Just blame it on the Devil.

We must be very careful not to mistake the Devil’s telepathic guidance for God’s.  That must be one of the Great Mysteries of Life, trying to discern the Two.  I mean, did God really tell Abraham to kill his son?  And he was just about to do it, too, when a voice stopped him with, “Ha ha, I was just kidding.  I was testing you, to see if you really would do it.“  Say, what?!  The seemingly good advice that we receive from beyond is not always from God either.  You know, it’s been said that the Devil can quote scripture, too.  The Devil frequently tells us what we want to hear.  I believe that those individuals who are strong-willed and astute enough to determine Which is Which and then govern themselves accordingly, are the real survivors in this world.  Judging from the incredible good fortune I have had all my life, and the fact that I am still here, I consider myself to be one of the Discernible Ones, at least most of the time.

I will share with you the basic guideline that I follow on how to tell Which you are being influenced by, God or the Devil?  Satan is ultimately hell-bent for our self-destruction.  It wants us to destroy ourselves in any way we can and inflict harm on others in order for It to claim our souls.  God wants us to live, to enjoy life to the fullest, to use and share the talents that have been bestowed upon us.  This is the Meaning of Life for me.  Our short time here on earth is so precious and quite limited.  We should not waste the little time we have.  Satan wants us to waste our lives and our talent.  God wants us to make the most of them.  So when you are receiving conflicting messages in your head, consider carefully what you are being told to do.  If one inner voice is saying, “Go ahead, jump!” or “Go ahead, pull the trigger!” but another one is telling you, “Don’t do it. You’ll be sorry.” or “Put the weapon down,” you should know which advice to obey.

For a moment, I’d like to play “Devil’s Advocate” (if you’ll pardon the pun) and share another of my theological theories with you.  Instead of two separate entities, what if God and Satan are One and the Same, merely two sides of Good and Evil?  I mean, if God controls the whole Universe, then theoretically it makes sense that It’s responsible for all the Evil in it as well. Since God is supposed to represent only Good, Man needed somebody else to personify the Evil in the world, so he created the Devil as a separate being.  But I say, There is no Two, only One. I discovered that even this is not a novel idea, on my part, as the Biblical prophet Isaiah apparently had the same notion when he (or somebody) wrote in Chapter 45 of his book, “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me.  I form the light and create darkness.  I make peace and create evil.  I, the Lord, do all these things.”  So, there!  See, I can quote Scripture, too!

But even if this is the case, we are still given the choice of how to lead our lives.  It’s easy to remember: God = Good, Devil = Evil.  The positive side of God controls the goodness in everything while the negative side controls all wickedness.  And we do need both to give us proper perspective.  How could one determine what is good if there were no bad against which to measure it, and vice versa?  The Chinese have their yin and yang.  There is good and bad in everybody, including the God Entity.  No one is only one or the other, no matter how self-righteous you think you are.  Therefore, when we do receive mixed messages of a good and bad nature, maybe that is God testing our morality and sense of what is right and wrong, by giving us the opportunity to exercise our freedom of choice and inherent free will.

(“Are you a Good Witch, or a Bad Witch?”)  So then, it’s up to us to decide which is to be the more dominant influence in our own life.  Think about this.  If God is supposed to be all good and love, how do you account for Its vengeful actions?  God’s having a Satanic side might explain it.  Destroying the world that time by flood certainly wasn’t an act of benevolence.  I’m not entirely convinced that the event even took place, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt just to make my point.  Even modern-day natural disasters, like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, severe storms and drought, which regularly kill and injure masses of people and which are classified as “Acts of God,” by the way, are not looked upon as favorable occurrences.  Yes, Mother Nature can be quite a bitch at times.

The people who use the phrase “The Wrath of God” must consider God to be very angry on occasion.  Some parents even raise their children to be “God-fearing.“  If God is supposed always to have our best interests at heart, why should we fear It?  I don’t think that theophobia is the course to teach or take in life.  Of course, some people consider global adversity to be God’s punishments to humankind, but why must the so-called good people be arbitrarily sacrificed right along with the bad?  That’s not a good thing, no matter how you look at it.

I find more hypocrisy with these self-professed, so-called Christians, because they don’t put their beliefs to practical application when an appropriate situation arises.  Like in the Oh, God! movies (1977-1984), everybody, especially the clergy who get involved, refuse to believe that John Denver (and the little girl in the sequel) had actually heard, seen and spoken with God.  And even when “God” appears and speaks to all of them as well, they still cannot accept it.  The TV series “Picket Fences” touched upon religious faith subjects a couple of times.  They explored the phenomenon of a modern virgin conception, and another time one of the main characters, an 11-year-old boy, experiences stigmata in his hands.  In both cases, the townspeople, headed by a Catholic priest and a Protestant minister, try everything they can to disprove the events.  They try to explain away the latter incident as being stress-induced.

I’m thinking, In all these cases, now, the whole bases of these people’s religion are supernatural phenomena and miracles and fantastic occurrences and belief in things that supposedly happened over 2000 years ago but without any tangible proof except for their so-called faith.  Then they finally get a chance to put these beliefs and their faith to the test in a real situation and they all fail miserably.  They just can’t accept any of it.  If it happened once, as they claim to believe, why couldn’t it happen again? Why come up with names for these phenomena if they don’t believe in their occurrence?  They all were admittedly ashamed even to entertain the possibility of their purported beliefs.  “Merciful Heaven, if I admit to anyone that I believe in God, what will people think of me?!”  It seems rather hypocritical for a person to profess their belief in Godly matters but then are reluctant to confess their belief in Godly matters.  So let me get this straight.  It is perfectly okay for people to pray and talk to God on a regular basis, but if God should actually answer back, then those same people are crazy.

In the aforementioned TV series, “Joan of Arcadia,” the title character secretly converses with “God” on a regular basis.  When her parents find out about their daughter at the end of the first season, they send her to a child psychologist who declares the teen to have “impaired perception.” That’s an irresponsible diagnosis, in my opinion.  I think that a person who sees things that the rest of us cannot, doesn’t have impaired perception but rather heightened perception.  It’s their own perception that’s impaired. Just because you yourself cannot see the entity in the room, does not mean that it is not really there.

In the Doctor Dolittle remake (1998), when Eddie Murphy is discovered being able to communicate with animals, of course his family and friends think that he has lost his mind.  “Nobody can do that.“  Again, just because you can’t, it doesn’t mean that someone else couldn’t possibly be able to.  It seems that whenever someone displays a special ability beyond common normalcy, people tend not to believe it or accept it and will deem that person to be not-all-there.  So they can do something that you can’t do, but that makes them the crazy one?  Why not encourage someone’s special psychic gifts instead of making them feel that they’re mentally unbalanced or delusional?

The Bible, which they so love to cite, is loaded with characters who claimed to have had personal conversations with God: Adam and Eve, Cain, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Job, all those prophets and others.  People accept it from them, but they don’t when it’s somebody they know makes the claim.  Even Rev. Todd Burpo, the father in Heaven Is for Real (2014), which is supposedly based on a true story, had a hard time at first accepting his son’s claims that he had actually died temporarily and got a glimpse of what he believed to be Heaven.  The images and impressions that the child witnessed in his unconscious state are the same ones that his father has related to him all his life, so why wouldn’t he think that’s where he was? (Check out my Heaven and Hell blog.)

Similar to the guy who waited for the Lord to save him from the flood, in The Preacher’s Wife (1996) Courtney B. Vance is a troubled minister who prays for divine help and is sent an angel in the guise of Denzel Washington.  Not surprisingly, Courtney doesn’t believe him.  He is constantly dismissive to Denzel and is always telling him to go away and leave him alone.  Although he keeps imploring, “Oh, Lord, please help me!” when Denzel keeps showing up, as per his requests, he’s ready to cuss him out.  I’m thinking, Why ask for help if you’re not going to accept it when it’s freely given?  Now Reverend “Vance” is up preaching about angels and other supernatural beings every service, so he is sent his own personal one, and he’s not having any of it!

Angels in the Outfield (1951) is a baseball movie starring Paul Douglas as the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, while they are in a losing slump.  They come to receive angelic intervention, which helps them to start winning games.  Donna Corcoran is a little orphan girl and baseball fan who is the only one who can actually see the “angels in the outfield,” and when she says so, of course nobody believes her.  I love this scene.  Back at the Catholic-run orphanage, Mother Superior, Spring Byington, tries to convince the child that she is suffering from heatstroke or something.  The two are standing in front of a huge statue of the Archangel Gabriel, and the nun tells the girl, “Come on, you don’t believe in angels, do you?” Uh, so what is that behind you, then?

So these guys all make their living teaching religious faith to their constituents, but they certainly don’t practice what they preach.  Of course, these are only fictional dramas, but as all literature is based on human behavior, I am pretty sure that real people would have a similar reaction if any of these things actually occurred today.  There is always some thought-provoking truth in good satire.

“May the Force be with you.”

[Related articles: Credos; A Critique of Catholicism; For the Bible Tells Me So; Heaven and Hell; Jesus H. Christ!; Nativity Redux; Sin and Forgiveness; The Ten Commandments]

For the Bible Tells Me So

(# …The things that you li’ble to read in the Bible, it ain’t necessarily so. #)

I take a less-than-literal approach to the “Holy” Bible. I think it’s grossly overrated. The Bible is just a book; albeit it is a biographical (allegedly) anthology, a reference book, a story book, a history book, an oracle and prospectus, a book of mythology, a book of poetry, proverbs, song lyrics, epigrams, letters, essays and yes, even erotica. Hey, this very book of mine, from which my blog articles originate, could be described in exactly the same way!

The stories in the Bible (especially the Old Testament) are no more valid than the myths of the Greeks, Romans, Norse or Germans. For example, if I am to believe the story of Lot’s Wife being turned into a pillar of salt, why shouldn’t I believe that the Gorgon Medusa could turn people to stone? Or if you buy the story that Jesus could turn water into wine, then why not believe that Dionysus could do the same thing?

I don’t take the Bible seriously in terms of letting it govern my entire life, no questions asked. If you want to make a convincing point to me, please don’t begin with, “Well, the Bible says…” for I will not be impressed. It’s not that I consider anything in the Bible to be worthless advice—I frequently quote the book myself. The Bible “says” a lot of things. I may believe or agree with a particular passage on its own merit, but not because it is in the Bible. I might find the same sentiment in a Jacqueline Susann novel. Actually, it’s not the Bible that’s “saying” anything anyway, but the particular translator and interpreter of the passage that they are quoting.

Because the Bible has many authors and you will never get that many people all to agree on everything, it is loaded with contradictions. As the name implies, it is full of holes. For every passage that tells us to do one thing, most likely there is another one somewhere else in the book that instructs us to do the exact opposite. Examples: “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” but “Turn the other cheek.” “Love thy neighbor,” but “Stone the sinner.” Well, suppose that alleged sinner is also your neighbor? How would you proceed then? It’s like with conflicting proverbs. One says, “Two heads are better than one,” but another suggests that “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” So, which are you going to go with? “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” But then, “Out of sight, out of mind.” You see, people tend to select the passage that most suits their purpose for their particular argument.

In the Book of Genesis, “God” hated the world that It had created because of the people’s sinful ways and decided to destroy it. But in the New Testament, “God so loved the world that He” sacrificed his Son to take on all our sins and give us everlasting life. Now people were doing and are still doing the same things that they have ever done, so why the subsequent leniency? Had God gotten more laid back and forgiving in Its later years? That’s more contradiction. So, to take one thing in the Bible to heart without considering all the rest of it is not practical or sensible. It’s better not to take any of it to heart. We all should be able to determine right from wrong without consulting the Bible to guide us.

The fact of the matter is, most of what is in the Bible cannot be taken literally. Nobody really knows for sure what it all actually means, because it is all written in code, metaphors and symbolism and subject to many different interpretations, which I shall illustrate in the following paragraphs. By the way, if we all followed the eye-for-an-eye-tooth-for-a-tooth philosophy, everybody would be blind and/or toothless!

Now for myself, I happen to believe in Darwinism, or the Theory of Evolution. Science has given us living, tangible proof of our biological evolution. What real proof do we have of the Biblical account of the Creation? Nobody was there to witness it, so it‘s only somebody‘s theory of how it all came about. And as it is not the only take on the story–there are several, in fact (Kabbalah, Midrash, Talmud, Torah, Zohar, et alia)–it should not be any more valid than anybody else’s version.

The commonly-regarded “Big Bang Theory,” for example, contends that the expansion of the Universe was caused by a gigantic explosion. But that would mean that there had to have been something already there to explode. What was it that actually exploded? So that can’t be the origin of Creation. To expand anything there has to be something to expand. Then the concept of Creation itself is merely a theory. Just as the Universe is regarded in infinite terms, might Creation, too, have no actual beginning nor end? I don’t know the real truth of the situation, and neither does anyone. It’s all comes down to still unproven speculation, theory, personal opinion and what we all choose to believe.

Now, for the Creationists who want to buy the Adam and Eve story–which I don’t believe for a moment, but for the sake of argument and discussion–why does virtually everyone accept the notion that the male of the species was the first on earth alone until Woman was created out of him (and from one of his ribs, no less!)? It makes more sense to me the other way around. Since, as far as we know, it has always been Woman that procreates and perpetuates life by bearing children, might not it have been that way even from the very beginning? Maybe Eve was here first and Adam was the afterthought. Why not? Well, just think about it. Why would the First Man just happen all by himself that one and only time (well, not exactly by himself, I guess; he did have help from his Creator, another “man”) and from then on, things change completely around and everyone else after that is born from Woman? Don’t you think that theory reeks a bit of male chauvinism? Man was here first, therefore, “the King” and ruler of his dominion and all the other creatures on earth, but let’s make the woman do all the heavy lifting and the pain thing.

Then what about the animal kingdom? According to this same Biblical account, the animals were created before Adam, but there is no mention of the male of each species of creature being on earth alone until one day the females miraculously show up and they start procreating. Come on! It’s sort of like the old riddle of the chicken and the egg and which came first. (The answer is, of course, the rooster!) My suggestion that it’s always been “ladies first” or at least simultaneous co-existence seems much more logical to me. In fact, Genesis 1:27 states “male and female created He them.”

This other way creates a moral problem, though, that changes everything. If Adam came out of Eve, that would make them mother and son instead of husband and wife (who “married” them, by the way?), the births of Cain and Abel would be the result of incest, plus they would be bastards! Now, we can’t have that, can we? But it was God Itself who ordered them to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, so God must have been condoning eventual and unavoidable incest. Don’t forget that the way it is now is Sexist Man’s account of the Creation. You know that he’s not going to play second-fiddle to a mere woman!

If a feminist had written the original Bible, they probably would have told the story from the perspective that I have just suggested. But this more popular Genesis story is not the only published version either. One Hebrew legend contends that Eve was not even the first, but Adam’s third “wife”! His first main squeeze was named Lilith, and this version of the story says that they both were created from dust and at the same time. But Lilith didn’t enjoy having sex with Adam because he wouldn’t let her be on top. (Already the dominatrix?) So she left him. Then God created another woman for Adam out of the dust while Adam watched, and he was so repulsed by it all that he could never get into her, and he flatly rejected her. (Shades of Bride of Frankenstein, huh?) So it was back to the old drawing board. This time God put the squeamish Adam to sleep while “He” fashioned Eve from one of his ribs. This he could live with, as Eve was “flesh of [his] flesh” and she was a real Woman, taken out of Man, you see.

But before any of these alleged women, when Adam was still all by himself, God got the notion, “It is not good that Man should be alone. I will make a help meet [sic] for him.“ But God could have just as easily created another man to be Adam’s companion and life partner, if that was all he was meant to be. By making it a fertile, child-bearing woman suggests that God’s primary purpose all along was eventual procreation.

By the way, do you know where the name Adam comes from? Adham is the Hebrew word for man, which is from adhamah, meaning earth or clay, hence, of mortal clay. Eve is derived from the Hebrew hayyah, another word for life. I contend that Adam and Eve, therefore, are merely a representation of humankind—metaphorical personifications, not actual persons that ever lived. Many of the characters in the Bible have names that seem too coincidentally-prophetic for them to be real. I shall cite other examples as we go along.

Still for the sake of argument and discussion, let’s explore the story further. God told Eve, “…Thy desire shall be to thy (common law) husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Now that’s a sexist male attitude, isn’t it? Wait, there’s more! You will notice that it was Eve who was beguiled by the Serpent to disobey the Lord and partake of the Forbidden Fruit. The lesson in that is that women have no will power and they cannot be trusted. That’s why they need a stronger-willed, trustworthy man to be in charge over them, you see. God’s order to them in itself was merely a test of trust. “He” told them that if they ate from the taboo tree or even touched it, they would surely die. But the Serpent assured Eve, “Oh, poppycock! You won’t die, Miss Thing. Instead, your eyes will be opened and you will know good and evil.”

So Eve decided to listen to the Serpent rather than to that old killjoy God. And after they had eaten the Forbidden Fruit (the Bible never mentions an apple, by the way), it suddenly dawned on them that they were naked, and they got all ashamed and hid themselves. Ashamed of what, I ask you? Hid themselves from whom? Each other? The other nekkid animals? God’s already seen you, no need to hide from “Him”! How silly is that? But, wait a minute! Get this. Due to the fact that clothing had not yet been invented, nudity as a concept didn’t even exist yet. Naked means to be without clothes. But how can you be without something that doesn’t yet exist? So how could they possibly know what nakedness is? Don’t you see that this is somebody’s way of instilling the human concept of modesty into all of us and to justify the reason for us to cover our bare bodies? And what is this “die” thing? Did God explain to them what death is when He threatened them with it? While they were checking out each other’s naked bodies, did they also notice that neither of them had a navel? (“What’s a navel?”)

That so-called Serpent, by the way and by some accounts, was an advocate of Satan in male human form (so Adam was not the only man in the Garden at that time), until God, as a punishment for his beguilement, condemned him forever to slither along the ground on his belly. So that’s how we got the lowly snake. It’s like those Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling—“How the Camel Got His Hump,” “How the Leopard Got His Spots”–in fact, the book of Genesis itself is merely a series of “Just So” stories–or the Greek and Roman myths that explain how certain things came to be.

Arachne was a skilled weaver who was turned into a spider, and the self-absorbed Narcissus was turned into a beautiful flower, for example. The Greeks’ version of Eve and the Downfall of Man is in the guise of Pandora (meaning “all gifts”) as the first mortal woman, who opened a box, that had been entrusted to her by the head god, Zeus, that contained every manner of evil, which she released onto the world. The only thing left in the box was Hope. I wonder, though, why Hope was in a box filled with Evil and vices?

But getting back to the matters at hand, my take on the story is that I think the Serpent is treated unfairly and even now still receives a bad rep. What did he do that was so terrible? He only told Eve the truth about the Tree of Knowledge. What he said would happen is exactly what happened. She didn’t have to take his suggestion. It was God who told the boldfaced lie, telling them that they would die if they partook of the Tree. They didn’t, did they? At least, not right then. So then, if they had not partaken of the taboo tree, would that have rendered them both immortal?

The Serpent actually did them and all of us a favor. Whereas everything happens for a reason, if Adam and Eve had not done what they did, they would have been doomed forever to exist in their innocent, ignorant bliss, never experiencing real life as we know it and never experiencing hard work and personal accomplishments, sex or the enjoyment and fulfillment of raising a family. So I think we should thank the Serpent, or Snake-in-the-Grass, for inspiring humankind to endure and thrive.

Now, here is another oversight about this whole scenario. I said earlier that some accounts of the story have the Serpent in human form. But there are others who believe it was in its common reptilian form. If that is the case, then what you have here is a talking snake, people! Did they ever think about that, that this alleged Serpent actually spoke to Eve? And was quite eloquent and intelligent, besides! But then, they had “God” speaking directly to them as well. Some people will believe anything. And that has nothing to do with faith either. That’s just stupidly gullible illogicality.

I have found that different editions of the Bible say different things, too. My own personal copy is “the authorized King James Version” and claims to be “translated out of the original tongues and with the former translations diligently compared and revised.” Oh, really? Well, Genesis 3:16 of this particular edition reads (as punishment for disobeying the Lord), “Unto the woman [God] said, ‘I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children…;” Why should childbirth be sorrowful? Isn’t that their intent? But the Catholic Bible renders this same verse as, “Unto the woman he said, ‘I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing…’” and the Episcopal Bible has, “…I will greatly increase the pain of childbirth…”

Those three passages don’t all mean exactly the same thing. It sounds as if everyone is paraphrasing. And those are not the only translations either. Who knows what the original Hebrew actually said? But even that is subject to speculative scrutiny. How can the pain of childbirth be increased, when she doesn’t have anything to compare it to? “Ooh, this hurts much worse than the last one did!” or otherwise intensified when Eve has never experienced it in the first place? Unless she really did bear Adam. (Aha!)

What about this “Just So” story? You know that bulge of laryngeal cartilage in front of the throat, called the “Adam’s apple,” which is commonly prominent in men but rarely so in women? Again from the male’s account, you understand, deceitful Eve swallowed her piece of the “apple” without a trace, whereas good old misled Adam was too open and honest to hide his guilt, therefore his piece got stuck in his throat. Come on! Here is another. “Well,” said Adam, “She started to bleed again. This happens every month or so.” “So, where is she now?” asked God. “Well, she went down to the river to wash up,” replied Adam. “Damn,” said God, “Now I’ll never get that smell out of the fish!”

In Chapter 4 of Genesis, after Adam and Eve had their first two sons and Cain had killed his brother Abel, as a punishment Cain was deported to dwell in “the land of Nod, east of Eden.” Who deported him, by the way? The INS? You’ll notice, too, that they were already into arbitrary, imposed punishments for their misdeeds as well as minor indiscretions, another human practice. But by his own parents? He didn’t get a jury trial, did he? Did Cain pose a dangerous threat to society? What society?! If it was God who sent Cain away, why would he even comply? They ignored God’s wishes before, so why listen to Him now? And too, who determined that murder was a punishable crime when it had never been committed before? It makes more sense that Cain’s leaving was his own decision, out of shame or remorse, perhaps. He might have been an adult by that time, and it is customary for children to leave home at some point anyway. He was apparently rebellious, so why stay where you are not happy?

The fact is, there was no actual place called Nod. It’s merely a metaphor. Nod is the Hebrew word for “wandering,” which suggests that Cain condemned himself to roam the land for the rest of his days. So anywhere that he settled or traveled to, he would be in the “land of Nod,” you see. Cain goes on to say, “I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth, and it shall come to pass that every one that findeth me shall slay me.” Uh, whom did he expect to meet? And then, too, how many times could he be slain? Cain even “builded a city,” all by himself apparently, since he was all alone. So, he is going to have a city without any people? For that matter, what is a city? And too, where did he get the materials with which to build this alleged city? Uh, are you all buying any of this?

Now get this. Eventually Cain “knew his wife and she conceived.” What?! But wait! The chapter goes on to say that Adam and Eve had another son, Seth, who in turn had a son named Enos. Now, who are Cain’s wife and Enos’ mother, please? If Eve was the only woman on earth at that time, where did those other women come from?! If they were Lilith and that other reject, the book never says so anywhere. That little incongruity alone is enough to make me question all the rest of it.

The rest of Chapter 4 and the next are all about who begat whom, nine generations after Adam, all the way down to Noah, who was Methuselah’s grandson, by the way, and mentions several women’s names as the wives and daughters of Cain and Seth and their subsequent lots. Although the book mentions Seth as their only other son after Abel’s death, certain Biblical scholars have theorized that Adam and Eve had several more children, some of them most likely girls. This would explain the existence of the other women that Adam’s sons were “married” to. But that would make them their very own sisters, or even their daughters, which would again involve incest!

If we are to accept this only one original Man and Woman theory, then we must accept that there had to have been some incest between mother and son and siblings for subsequent procreation to occur. Do they think that if they don’t admit it right out, nobody will ever notice the oversight? How and why do people ignore the logic and obviousness of the situation and instead just accept and perpetuate such fantasy storytelling as truth?

I had the good fortune of visiting Israel in 2008 and performing with the Collegiate Chorale and Israel Philharmonic. While shopping at a tourist gift shop in Nazareth, I spied this preposterous poster for sale: the Adam and Eve Family Tree! It traced the couple’s lineage all the way down to Jesus Christ! I regret now that I didn’t buy it, just to have as a souvenir novelty item and conversation piece. I was curious about who is included on that tree, so I looked up the item online, but Amazon wanted more money for it than I am willing to pay. I found out what I wanted to know, and I can always go back to it when need be.

I did notice during my perusal that there are a whole list of males from Adam’s son, Seth, down to Noah, but no women. Did these guys just happen all by themselves, then? The person(s) who compiled this family tree apparently did not know the names or existence of any subsequent females, so chose not to make up any names; just exclude them completely, I guess. I couldn’t be the only one who noticed something so obvious. I see that Noah had a wife, but where did she come from?

They talk about weeks and months and years as if they were following a written calendar. They related natural phenomena in non-scientific terms that they could understand. Like, since they didn’t know about meteors and comets and such, they would describe the appearance of one as “a flaming chariot across the sky,” for example. Maybe the wheel that Ezekiel saw “way up in de middle of de air” was really a flying saucer (or perhaps, a runaway Frisbee?). I hope you don’t deem extraterrestrial visitation to be only a modern occurrence.

I don’t know why people take the Bible so literally. The Old Testament, especially, is just a bunch of fables like the classical myths. As I suggested before, the stories and characters were written to explain and justify why things are the way they are, and so much of it is speculation, symbolism and metaphor. Take the Genesis account of the Creation itself, for instance. It is not related in scientific terms because the authors were totally ignorant of scientific matters. Certain words used aren’t even valid. How can they say that the earth was created in just six days when they didn’t even know what a day is (the time it takes the earth to rotate once on its axis), let alone a year (the time it takes the earth to make a complete revolution around the sun)?

The word “day” was used to represent an indefinite period of time. It could have meant a few years, several centuries or many millennia, for all we know, most likely the latter. The third and fifth verses read, “And God said, Let there be light, and there was light…And God called the light Day and the darkness Night.” (Now “day” means something else.) That was the First “Day.” So God is already naming things and using English words, to boot! That means that the English language must have existed during the time of the Creation. And then, to whom is God making these demands? Is It talking to Itself, and why does It have to utter aloud to render compliance? And, too, what was God doing before It decided to create the world? Just floating around in empty space, twiddling Its thumbs?

Then later on during the Fourth Day, it reads, “And God made two great lights; the greater light (presumably the sun) to rule the day and the lesser light (the moon?) to rule the night.” So, a couple of questions. If the sun was just now created during this Fourth Day, what light was that mentioned back there in the third verse—some temporary work light until God could get the sun up and running? Then, too, without the sun, what was determining those first three “days”? We now know that the moon does not have its own light but gets it from the sun, so what are these “two great lights”? That author obviously knew nothing about modern astronomy.

“And on the Seventh Day, God rested from ‘His’ great work.” So, who was minding the store while God was taking Its siesta? And then how long was that particular “day”? The Universe couldn’t have just shut down indefinitely while God was taking a work break. And why would the Almighty God require rest anyway? It’s God! It doesn’t need to rest. Don’t you see that as somebody’s way to explain what a week is and to justify the Sabbath? And since Creation is an ever-ongoing project, why hasn’t God ever had to take a rest again since that one and only time? I don’t know how people with even half a brain can believe and accept such illogical nonsense.

So let’s talk about these so-called “years” that the Bible is always referring to with regard to people’s ages. They didn’t know what a year is, so how can that term be valid? Again, why do people take everything so literally? For example, it is said that the oldest man, Methuselah, lived 969 years. I don’t believe that for a moment. Many of those Biblical characters lived many hundreds of years. How could that be? Now they could have kept track of the passage of time by noticing the cycles of the moon. So what they referred to as a year might be really just a month. 969 months, then, is equivalent to 80 of our years plus nine months. That makes a lot more sense, as 80 would have been considered very old, since the average lifespan in those days was probably 40 to 50 years. In general, people tend to live much longer nowadays then they did long ago. We have medications and remedies for most everything and medical assistance to keep us alive, where in Biblical times and after, people died from the most minor of ailments. So a person who lived to be 80 and beyond was considered pretty remarkable.

Also, the Hebrews were said to have wandered the desert for forty years, as a punishment for disrespecting the Lord after He had led them out of bondage in Egypt. We now know that it could have been only three years and four months, which is still a long time but not near as much as forty. That’s three generations. What would they have been doing all of that time? Three and some years makes a lot more probable sense, doesn’t it? That is, if it ever happened at all.

I have some questions about the Noah’s Ark story, too, and there are discrepancies. There seems to be two different accounts of the story. It is generally regarded that Noah (whose name means “peace” in Hebrew) brought two of every creature onto the Ark, so says Chapter 6 of Genesis. But in the very next chapter, it says that the clean beasts are to be taken in by seven, and only those who are not clean shall go in by two. One verse says that it rained for forty days and nights, but another one says that it was 150 days. One verse says Noah sent out a dove after the rain stopped, and another says that it was a raven. So you see, they can’t keep their stories consistent even from one passage to another! What is a clean beast as opposed to an unclean one anyway, and who decided which was which?

I have many unanswered questions. How were the animals summoned onto the boat? Did Noah and his boys just say, “Come on down, y’all!” and they all willingly came a-running from wherever they were? But how about all the insects and crawling things and all the different kinds of birds there are? How did they get them all aboard? How could any vessel, no matter how large it is, hold that many animals at one time? I suppose that the sea creatures all had to fend for themselves, huh? There is no mention of the dinosaurs being there. What about all of them? Did they only come along later in history? But from where? In fact, we don’t really know for sure what animals were in existence at that time. All animals, too, are the result of evolution, just like we are, and they all didn’t happen at once.

What did they all eat the whole time? Every creature depends on some other creature for its food supply. There must have been those on board that are natural prey for each other. So did the cheetahs, for example, refrain from attacking the gazelles all that time? But what about all the herbivores aboard? Since there was no vegetation, due to the flood, wouldn’t they all have to eat meat? Or did Noah gather up enough grass and veggies to last the duration? One giraffe alone consumes 140 pounds of foliage daily. How did they get along, all cooped up together for so long? What about animals that require a certain environment or climate for their survival? For example, were there polar bears and penguins right along with the armadillos, elephants and kangaroos?

What was the plumbing and waste disposal situation like? Can you imagine the constant stench up in there? By the time they got off the boat, there would have been a lot more on board than they started with, since many creatures mate frequently and have short gestation periods. Opossums, for one, breed every 13 days! And since their landing site, Mount Ararat, is supposed to be in Turkey somewhere, how did all the animals get from there to the other continents, like North and South America, Africa and Australia? Or was the world just one big land mass at the time, before the oceans were formed to create the separate continents? Inquiring minds want to know. I question everything.

Did you ever consider how long it would have to rain in order to flood the entire earth and drown all its inhabitants? I think it would take a lot longer than six weeks (or 5 months). How do you flood a desert, for example? The water that falls there would all be absorbed by the sand. Come on, people, use your brains! Whose account is this story, anyway? Did Noah or someone in his family keep a journal? Let us consider this story in a modern-day setting. In the 1998 TV-movie Noah, Tony Danza portrays a building contractor who is commissioned by an angelic emissary to build an Ark in the middle of the Arizona desert. Once he has accepted the request and takes up the task, of course everybody in town, including his family and friends, all ridicule him, shun him, call him crazy and even try to thwart his efforts. A desert flood? How preposterous! But when it starts to rain and it looks as if it is not going to let up anytime soon, here they all come a-running, wanting to get onto the boat. He doesn’t seem so crazy now, does he? People tend never to want to believe anything until after the fact.

The story was tackled once again in the more recent Evan Almighty (2006) with similar responses. The reason that God gave Noah, in the Bible version, why “He” decided to destroy the world, was because people had gotten to be so wicked and sinful, He wanted to erase the slate and start all over again. Then it happened again with Sodom and Gomorrah, but that didn’t solve the problem either. So I guess God has learned His lesson, that humankind is basically a sinful lot and cannot be made completely righteous. He also came to the conclusion that we have come up with numerous ways to destroy ourselves without any interference from Him!

But why was Noah singled out for divine salvation? He and his family could not have been the only ones in the entire world who were so good and sinless that they didn’t deserve to perish like everybody else. We are still bombarded with genocidal disasters all the time–floods, fires, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, storms, fatal epidemics, etc.–but no one gets warned ahead of time so that they can get the hell out of Dodge and save themselves. What made Noah’s family so special? I think that he was created as an example, merely for the purpose of telling the story.

Our next “Just So” Bible story attempts to explain why we earthlings all speak many different languages. The surviving generations after the Flood were of one language and speech. They all somehow settled in one place, a plain called Shinar and became governed by a mighty hunter named Nimrod (meaning “rebel“), who just happened to be Noah’s great-grandson. Nimrod talked the people into building a tower whose top would reach up to Heaven. “And the Lord came down (!) to see the city and the tower…” (What, He couldn’t see it from where He was?) and took it as a personal affront to Him, I guess, because He decided that they were free to do anything they wanted to on anybody’s word. So instead of destroying them all again, as a punishment, He scattered the people all over the earth and confounded their tongues so that they could not understand one another‘s speech. That’s a punishment? But how did they understand even their own, having never spoken it before? “I’ll teach you people to behave. I’ll make it so that you won’t know what anybody is saying.”

What irritates me about these Biblical accounts is that they constantly make these preposterous statements and then don’t bother to expound upon them. They just go on to something else. Why even mention such monumental situations and then not explain anything? This isn’t a condensed Reader’s Digest, or if I will pardon the expression, “Cliffs Notes.” I want details. This is a big deal. I have more questions. First of all, what was the one common language that they all initially spoke? And then what were the languages that they took on to speaking? Some scholars have put the number of different languages at 72.

The Bible makes everything sound so instantaneous. I would think that it takes a long time to invent a new language. They have to be organized in some way. There is vocabulary to consider, plus rules of grammar, spelling, punctuation, pronunciation and syntax have to be established, and then these guidelines have to be learned and then passed on to the persons who deign to speak it. But why go to all that trouble? By some accounts there are more than 6,900 spoken languages in the world. That was a whole lot of unnecessary work for a lot of people.  “Confounded their tongues?”  How stupid is that?  Plus, how did God “scatter the people all over the earth”?  Did He say, “Hey, y’all!  Now git!” and they just willingly up and dispersed to who-knows-where on His word?  Again, are you buying any of this nonsense?

Another thing that bothers me about all those Biblical accounts is how vindictive they make out God to be. God supposedly put humankind on the earth to live our lives as we see fit. But He seems to take issue with everything we do. He told us to go forth and multiply, but then when we went about having rampant sex with each other, He deemed us sinful and immoral, therefore subject to punitive destruction. Why give us all these privileges and then turn right around and take them away from us? “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.” The Lord is an Indian giver.

How about the Biblical account of the Exodus? Who said that the Jews were the “Chosen People”? It must have been the Jews themselves. They spoke as if God were their own personal possession. They even referred to It as “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Moses.” (the name Abraham means the “father of a multitude,“ by the way.) According to them, there was considerable favoritism going on. Why would God, whom we all consider to be an equal opportunity Overseer, take sides with his Children? The Hebrews were oppressed, in bondage, and they were all such good people, they had to be helped out of their unfortunate situation, while the Egyptians, on the other hand, were all evil, powerful, and had to be punished for their tyranny and misdeeds. So Moses’ God delivered “His People” safely to the Promised Land and destroyed anybody who interfered with that goal.

Now since I was not there to witness it and have only the movies to depict how it was, I don’t understand the slavery part of the Hebrews’ situation. According to films like The Ten Commandments (1956), the so-called slaves seemed to have free rein to do as they pleased. They had their own private homes to go to after work every day, for instance, and they apparently owned personal property, judging from all the stuff they took with them when they left. And why did they all have to leave the country anyway? They could have just stayed where they were and just refused to work for the Pharaoh any more, for no pay. When they all left, the Egyptians had to fend for themselves, so they could have done that anyway, even if the Hebrews had decided to remain there with them.

Some Biblical scholars have determined the possibility that the ten Plagues visited upon the land could actually have taken place. There is a plausible, logical explanation for everything that happened.  This is the T given by a “National Geographic” telecast, which I found to be rather interesting.  The scientists say that it was natural disasters which caused all the trouble, but the Bible purists insist that they were caused by “the Hand of God.”  I believe that both theories could be valid. It is just the relating of the story in which the details differ. I contend that “Nature” is God.

You see, around 3,000 years ago in Egypt, during the reign of Ramses II, there occurred some major climate conditions that created a chain of events in that part of the world. As a result of drought and high temperatures, at some point the Nile dried up quite a bit and produced toxic red algae that turned the water red, or “to blood.”  This, in turn, forced a large number of frogs to come on land to escape the poison lake. When they died out, that left the land vulnerable to a vast number of flying insects, which the frogs had previously kept their proliferation under control.

It’s known that many insects carry communicable diseases, so their bites and stings subsequently brought illness to the people and livestock, including boils and other skin conditions. About the same time, a nearby volcano had exploded, spewing billions of tons of volcanic ash into the atmosphere. The side effects of that is what caused the raining, fiery hailstones and also the presence of the plague of locusts. The volcanic ash also could have blocked out the sunlight, causing the plague of darkness over the land.

What about the final plague, the killing of all the firstborn? How was that accomplished? Well, it seems that a poison fungus got into the grain supplies. So the bread and other food products made from this grain turned out to be the real culprit. You see, in Egyptian households, it was customary for the firstborn to partake of the family meal before everyone else. So they were the first to be fatally poisoned.

Now according to the Hebrews’ version of the story, the Plagues visited on the country seemed to affect only the Egyptians.  Even the “Angel of Death,” in the form of a mist in the movies, killed all the firstborn in the land, but was instructed by God to “pass over” the Hebrews’ homes and target only the Egyptians.  How could that be?  That sounds just like our modern AIDS virus—you know, the early one that was so smart and discriminating that it targeted only homosexual men and drug addicts?  But since the Pharaoh was the one in charge, holding the Hebrews captive, why didn’t God just deal with him directly instead of subjecting the entire land to Its pestilence. Why punish everybody for one person’s transgressions?  It wasn’t the common Egyptian citizen who was keeping people enslaved.

Then the fleeing Hebrews made it through the Red Sea okay (somebody has come up with a practical explanation of that as well), but when the Egyptian soldiers followed in pursuit, God killed them for their effort.  Now what’s up with that?  Even the innocent horses all were drowned, who were not at all responsible for the Hebrews’ prior situation.  Why would God take sides like that?  Aren’t the Egyptians God’s People, too, just like the Hebrews are?   I think that there is some biased storytelling there, don’t you?  That’s why I would contend that what happened (if it really did happen) was a result of natural occurrences and not somebody’s, even God’s, personal vendetta.

This whole scenario is just too fantastic to be taken seriously anyway. If somebody told this story today as something that happened just recently, who would believe it?  “Really?  You mean to tell me that the sea just parted and created a wall of water on two sides, and the ground was completely dry and hard so that you could walk through, and waited until they all got across before the water went back to normal?  And there was a pillar of fire on shoreside that just sprang up out of nowhere that the military troops could not get around, and it hovered there indefinitely? Wow, that‘s amazing!  That must have been a whole lot of fire!“  You know, most people refuse to believe in the occult and supernatural even when they experience it firsthand, but they will readily accept some fantastic tale by some unknown authors that they read in a story book. But just because it’s in the Bible, with no eyewitness proof, we’re supposed to think it’s all true.

And what did those Hebrew refugees eat the whole time that they were wandering around in the desert all those years? Did they not starve because of all the sand which is there? (Sandwiches. Get it?) Well, they had a little thing called manna which helped them out. But what exactly was this “manna from heaven”? What did it look like? What form did it come in? Was it kosher? My dictionary doesn’t even give any kind of description, but it says that it is a Hebrew word meaning “what is it?“ This is what the Bible says about it, however. The 11th chapter of Numbers reads, “The manna was like coriander seed and the color of bdelium (a tree gum resin similar to myrrh). When the dew fell upon the camp at night, the manna fell upon it. And the people went about and gathered it, ground it in mills or beat it in a mortar, baked it in pans and made cakes of it, and the taste of it was of fresh oil.”

So they are saying that these people had cooking utensils and ovens out there in the desert, and this miraculous foodstuff just rained down from the sky as often as they needed it, huh? But how did they know that this strange substance was edible? I mean, I wouldn’t voluntarily consume some UFO (unidentified falling object) that fell from the sky. Well, I suppose I would if I were hungry enough. And where is the stuff now when we need it? There are still all these places in the world where people are starving to death from lack of food. Why doesn’t God provide Its manna for those food-deprived nations? Where was it during the famine in Ireland, for example? You know, on second thought, maybe those Old Testament Israelites were the Chosen People! So then were they also the people chosen for mass elimination by the Nazis during the Third Reich?  Nu?

So, after all that Moses had done for God and His people, getting them out of so-called bondage and safely delivering them all to their new home, he was not allowed to enter Canaan with them. The Bible (Deuteronomy 32:51) does not say exactly what Moses did that was so unforgivable. It just says that he “trespassed” against God, whatever that means. Maybe it was because he killed all those people when he threw the Commandment tablets down at them! He was guilty of murder earlier on as well. In fact, but this was just in The Ten Commandments movie, when God is “writing” the tablets, and when He gets to “Thou shalt not kill,” He “points” right at Moses. Now considering all the people that God had just killed and all those whose deaths He is responsible for on a regular, daily basis, how dare He point His ol’ fiery finger at anybody else! It’s “Do as I say, not as I do.“  So, God is a hypocrite, too, it appears!  I mean, isn’t death itself God’s doing?  “He’s gone to meet his Maker.“  Don’t you mean, He’s gone to meet his Killer?!

Anyway, Moses was ordered to stay behind, and when he eventually died, in Moab, the Scriptures say, God Himself (right!) buried him somewhere in the valley, where exactly nobody knows. Then Moses’ faithful protégé, Joshua, was assigned to deliver his horde–well, really, to invade Canaan and take it over, to kill all the people (including children and animals) already living there and establish the land as their own. This was on God’s order, by the way.

The History Channel on cable TV produced a well-received event called “The Bible” in 2013. The Bible is commonly referred to as “the Good Book.“ Well, I’m sorry, but according to that series, I could find hardly anything good about it. If the producers’ intent was to get people to embrace the Bible and learn affirming, positive messages from it, then they failed miserably, at least for me. Every episode from beginning to end features primarily warring and killing.  Noah’s flood kills a lot of people, Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed, a bunch of Egyptians perish during the Exodus, the Hebrews, in turn, kill all the people in Jericho as they are taking it over for themselves, they later are in an ongoing war with the Philistines, Samson kills a bunch of them, Kings Saul and David kills a bunch of them, then the Babylonians come along and start killing the Jews again.

This isn’t just voice-over narration either.  The senseless murder of millions of people is graphically depicted scene after scene.  I’m watching this thing (mostly out of curiosity) thinking, does the killing ever stop?  Is that all we humans are about?  But the interesting as well as disturbing fact about it all is that most of the killing was ordered by God Himself!  The characters, by their own admission, are acting on the Word of God.  So, this so-called benevolent, merciful God, whom we are supposed to honor and obey, according to the Bible, is also a dispassionate condoner of war and genocide.

There is a passage in Psalm 137 (author unspecified) that seems to be condoning and glorifying human sacrifice.  It says that we shall be rewarded and happy if we take our little children and dash them against the stones!  What?!  If that is not what it means, then why don’t they say what they really mean?

So what words are the Biblemongers actually abiding by? The old prophets didn’t speak English. The Old Testament was originally written all in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek. The version of the Bible with which we are now familiar has gone through numerous translations. And as with all translations, they are never absolutely literal but often paraphrased, as I demonstrated earlier, and everybody has their own version. It’s like the parlor game Telephone, whereas one person whispers something into the next player’s ear and that person tells the next person and so on, and by the time it reaches the end of the line, it’s nothing like the original message.

In I Love You, Phillip Morris (2010) Jim Carrey tells his secretary a joke, which then circulates around the office, and by the time it gets back to Jim at the end of the workday, it’s a totally different joke. Nothing is ever retold verbatim. It’s always subject to revision and reinterpretation. So it is, too, with multiple translations. But no matter how good a translation it is, it’s still the original writer’s one-person opinion.

Who translated the Bible? Why, heterosexual white men, of course! I would think that their opinions and outlook on life are going to be biased, at least. The King James version, for example, which is a very commonly-used edition, was translated from the Greek by blatant male chauvinists. King James I (who was actually a “queen”), and others of his era, had a very low regard for women, in general, but Bible thumpers are always quoting their bigoted comments. The Bible’s true authorship is rather a moot point with me anyway, as I am not at all convinced that any of it is true, as far as the characters and events related therein go. Who is the biographer? Who was actually there when all that stuff was happening, and then wrote it all down and lived long enough to tell about it?

Actually, some Biblical scholars have accredited Moses as the author of the first five books of the Old Testament, known as the Pentateuch. It is the basis of the Hebrew Torah as well. So right there you know that anything that happened before or after Moses’ time must be all made up or at least speculation. When did Moses record his account, by the way? It must have been while he was in Moab, waiting to die.  If he instead related the stories verbally, to whom did he tell it? Might all of the people mentioned throughout the Bible, at least the Old Testament, be made up?  Maybe none of them ever existed at all, which brings me back to my original contention that the Bible is merely a book of fables and myths.

Historian John Boswell made an in-depth study of the likelihood that supposed condemnations of homosexuality in the Bible do not exist in the original texts at all, but are actually the result of later translators imposing the prejudices of their times onto the translations. Boswell has written, “In spite of misleading English translations which may imply the contrary, no extant text or manuscript, Hebrew, Greek, Syriac or Aramaic, contains the word ‘homosexual’. Of course there are ways to get around the lack of a specific word in a language, and an action may be condemned without being named, but it is doubtful in this particular case whether a concept of homosexual behavior as a class existed at all.” So, there, you people who like to cite that famous passage in Leviticus (20:13) which purportedly outlaws homosexual cohabitation.

If you want to buy that convenient Biblical condemnation, however, perhaps you should also condone some other sanctioned no-nos from the same source. In Leviticus and other passages of the Pentateuch, it says that women are not ever to cut their hair, her hair being a “woman’s glory.” Now, what woman living today has never cut her hair or shaved her legs or armpits or consider such actions wrong or sinful?  Check this one out.  “A man shall not go near a woman while she is menstruating.”  How can something like that be avoided?  How do you know who’s having their period, unless they tell you, and what man would consciously stay away from his beloved wife or girlfriend for several days every few weeks?  That same chapter also outlaws any instance of adultery, which is then punishable by death.  Think about how many people, male and female, the world over, has succumbed to that prevalent infraction.

So, you see, it’s not just we gays who are Biblically damned. But wait! These Bible quoters are not even being true to their convictions. They are not taking the passage literally as written. What it actually says is, “If a man lieth with another man as he would a woman…” It doesn’t specifically say that they’re having sexual intercourse with each other. They are reading more into it.  A common euphemism for coitus is “sleep,“ as in, “Did you two sleep together?“  But people can actually sleep together without having sex.  I have done it on many occasions.  Maybe, then too, just to lie with a person is as innocent as it sounds. It is common for people to reduce everything down to sex. One can redefine anything to suit their own particular purposes.  And do!  For instance, when some states recently legalized marijuana and gay marriage at the same time, it gives that passage new meaning. “If a man lies with another man, he should be stoned”!  Oh, okay! ‘Give me a toke on that joint and then get over here and suck my dick!’ See, that’s another way to look at it.

Chapter 11 of Leviticus has a detailed rundown of which animals God’s people should and should not eat, the criteria depending on the beast’s hoof formation and whether it chews a cud or not! Sea creatures that have fins and scales are okay and all those that do not, like shellfish, are out. It goes on to tell us which birds and which insects we are allowed to eat. For example, we are encouraged to eat locusts, grasshoppers and beetles, but “all other flying, creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.”  What?!  Well, I for one, consider it my own business what I put into my body.  How dare “God” or anybody else tell us what we can or cannot eat!  And who living today actually follows such a dietary edict?

I have told you how I question everything. During one of our daily tours in Israel (we were in Jaffa this day), our tour guide, Mark, was telling us some legendary tale about St. Peter receiving some kind of cloth from God which had pictures of animals on it which could be processed into food or some such nonsense.  God told Peter that it was okay to eat any of the animals on the cloth, but Peter objected, saying that the animals on there were unclean, and God kept trying to assure him that they were not.  So I asked Mark, ’Who told Peter that certain animals were unclean in the first place?’  “Well, God did.”  ’But God just told him that they were not unclean.  So who is he going to listen to, this God or the other one?’  Mark had to admit, “I see your point.” I was just trying to get him to think about was he was telling us, instead of just repeating what he has been taught and believing what he is saying to be true.  Mark related several statements to us that day that have no basis of proof or truth to them.

The Bible says that it is against sacred law to touch the skin of a dead pig. So not only are pork eaters of the world condemned, but so is everyone who has ever handled a football! It even says that it is all right to sell your children into slavery. There is something about a man’s planting two different crops next to each other being punishable by public stoning! Common modern-day practices like birth control, adultery and even masturbation are outlawed in the Bible. Who is entirely guiltless of any of these “abominations”? And why don’t they take issue with all the killing and mayhem going on all over the place? If they want to cite abomination, I think that would be it.

Maybe the confusion lies with the actual meaning of abomination. The context of the word as it is used there refers to actions that were culturally “inappropriate” at the time. Please realize that our standards for decency and morality have changed considerably since Biblical times. I wish that some people wouldn’t give the word such a strict connotation. “That’s an abomination. You shall be put to death!“ What, for having this shrimp cocktail? For shaving my girlfriend’s armpits while she‘s on her period? For playing touch football with my son? For lying down with my male friend as I would my sister?! Gee, you’re so strict!

According to the Bible (Genesis 17:9-14), it is God who sanctioned male-child circumcision. But of course, if you have read my Oh, God, You Devil! essay, you know that it was Father Abraham who came up with this barbaric tradition. It is described as “the seal of God.” But it has occurred to me, if God does not want us to have our foreskins, why are all we men born with them then? Our having foreskins is Its doing. Why would God command us to mutilate ourselves that way? Does It want us all to endure some kind of blood and carnal sacrifice in Its honor after the fact? I don’t think so. Homie don’t play that!

This is how it is justified by some. “Circumcision imprints into a man’s body a lifelong sign that Israel will be perpetuated through him, that his seed, passing through the circumcised portal, will create children who will in turn be pledged to the Jews.” What?! You’re going to cut off part of my dick for that?! I don’t even know what the hell they’re talking about, I’m certainly not going to subject my kid to such an ordeal on that stupid premise. What does passing one’s seed have to do with whether he’s circumcised or not? I can pass semen and whatever else through my uncut penis without any problem. That is a totally senseless explanation, in my opinion. So all those non-procreating, homosexual and/or celibate Jewish men were circumcised as babies for nothing, then. But then, non-Jewish faiths as well have taken up that same practice for their children, when it has nothing to do with them. “Well, it’s in the Bible, so we have to abide by it.” No, we don’t!

What these so-called “Christians” have not seemed to acknowledge is that Christianity was founded in the name of Jesus Christ, who is a New Testament personage and has nothing whatsoever to do with the Old Testament. All their arguments and points-of-view that they cite from Leviticus and the other Old Testament books are not at all Jesus-inspired or condoned. If you claim to be a Protestant Gentile, why do you adhere to and swear by the sentiments in the Torah? That has nothing to do with you.

So if we conclude that God did not write the original Scriptures, and we know that Moses couldn’t have been the only alleged author, who did then? God can’t write, per se, despite Charlton Heston’s claim in The Ten Commandments that the Tablets were written by “the Finger of God.” (The middle finger?) Men wrote the Bible, via inspiration from God, or so they said. (I wonder what language God speaks?) But if you think about it, everything that anybody writes is God-inspired. All human thought comes from God, doesn’t it? So who appointed all those so-called prophets and scribes as the official spokesmen for God? I sure didn’t. Any of us could do the same thing. This very essay that you are reading right now is completely inspired by God. My God told me what to write and what to say. But who would deem it holy and consider it the ultimate gospel? But why not? I mean, people know me. I’m trustworthy, intelligent. Why shouldn’t my philosophy of life be taken seriously and being just as valid as those other anonymous old farts?

An entire religious sect, the largest worldwide and with 800 million followers, was established from Quotations from the Works of Chairman Mao Tse-tung. It is the main text of Maoism and the second most widely distributed book in the world. Similarly, Confucianism is based on the philosophic writings of Confucius. And I learned a while ago that our very own Thomas Jefferson wrote and published his own rewritten account of the New Testament. He denied accusations that he was an atheist, he just didn’t buy Jesus’ purported divinity. So he wrote his own version, entitled The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, making Jesus a normal, mortal man who did not perform miracles and other fantastic public displays. Jefferson chose to concentrate more on Jesus’ teachings and embraced the true “Christian” philosophy without the supernatural trappings.

At least Confucius, Mao and Jefferson were real people who lived during modern times. None of us living ever knew any of those old Biblical prophets. What are their credentials? Why should we govern our lives based on the claim that the writings of people we don’t even know were “inspired by God”? Well, so what if they were? Then so is mine and so is yours.

Don’t you think that most of that scriptural advice and counsel is a bit outdated and obsolete by now? They didn’t know as much about the world as we do now. An encyclopedia, for instance (which is inspired by God, by the way), is revised every few years, because the world is constantly changing, and we keep learning new things. New amendments are added to our U.S. Constitution when they affect current events and the changing laws. I often change my mind about some things that I write; I have that option. One’s free will is forever mutable. So why do people like to cling onto that antiquated, antediluvian Bible that hasn’t changed its views since it was first written? We are the products of our own modern times, and our lives are very different than they were in Biblical times. We don’t build things out of gopherwood anymore and don’t use the cubit as a standard measurement, for example.

I mentioned before that I suspect the Old Testament to be mostly myths and fables with much paraphrasing and speculation about events that may or may not have happened so long ago. I learned that almost all of the New Testament books, too, except the four remaining Gospels, were written 25 to 40 years after Christ, by Paul who never even met Jesus, and in Greek, a language that Jesus may not have even spoken!

When I visited Mt. Beatitudes in Israel, the place of the famous “Sermon on the Mount,” it occurred to me to pose the question, how do we have an account of what exactly was said on that occasion? Was there someone there writing down everything that Jesus said, or did Matthew or someone else happen to remember his entire speech and was able to recreate it, word for word, many years later? There was no recording devices back then. In my Bible the sermon takes up five whole columns. That’s a lot to recall. And even for those who witnessed the event, were all those people spread out all over the place able to hear every word that was said? There was no amplification. Could Jesus project his voice that well? Monty Python spoofed that in Life of Brian (1979).  From a distance away somebody asked, “Blessed are the cheese makers?”

The books of the New Testament that you Christians hold so dear are merely fabricated propaganda created by St. Paul in order to curry favor with the Roman Catholic Church. My point is, we should not take anything in the Bible literally or at face value or trust the validity of the quotations and events therein or the accepted translations, for that matter.

[Related articles: A Critique of Catholicism; Heaven and Hell; Jesus H. Christ!; Nativity Redux; Oh, God, You Devil!; Sin and Forgiveness; The Ten Commandments]